IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Contesting EU Legitimacy: The Prominence, Content and Justification of Euroscepticism During 2009 EP Election Campaigns


  • Pieter de Wilde, Hans-Jörg Trenz
  • Asimina Michailidou


This paper analyses the prominence, content and justifications of Euroscepticism as a form of EU legitimacy contestation. Support of and opposition to European integration have so far been mainly measured through the positions of political parties or citizens’ attitudes through public opinion polls. Against this reliance on static indicators, we focus on dynamic contestation, mediation and formation of public opinion in the public sphere. Our survey delivers original data on EU legitimacy contestation as unfolding on frequently visited political websites and blogs in 12 EU Member States and transnational websites during the European Parliament election campaign of 2009. The results are, first, that intensity of contestation varies across Member States unrelated to the amount of coverage of the elections. Secondly, the majority of contestation focuses on the current institutional set-up of the EU, rather than the principle or future project of European integration. A majority of evaluations made, particularly those by citizens, are negative in all countries included in our study. However, as these Eurosceptical contributions remain relatively underspecified, it is unclear what would alleviate citizens’ discontent. Thirdly, we find that a primary concern in EU legitimacy contestation is democracy, especially for those evaluating EU legitimacy negatively.

Suggested Citation

  • Pieter de Wilde, Hans-Jörg Trenz & Asimina Michailidou, 2010. "Contesting EU Legitimacy: The Prominence, Content and Justification of Euroscepticism During 2009 EP Election Campaigns," RECON Online Working Papers Series 22, RECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0079

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    democracy; European elections; European identity; European Parliament; legitimacy; media;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0079. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marit Eldholm). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.