Change to Stay the Same? : German European Preference Formation During the COVID-19 Crisis
2023-03-28, Heermann, Max, Leuffen, Dirk, Tigges, Fabian
In 2020, the German government supported the COVID-19 recovery fund ‘Next Generation EU’, which according to many observers is breaking with the taboo of joint EU debt liability. In this article, we analyse whether this decision marks a programmatic shift towards fiscal integration, taken in isolation by the Chancellor, or whether it can be reconciled with higher-level principles that guided the Chancellor’s previous European policies? Our analysis builds on a synthetic framework combining a multi-level principal-agent account with ideational components. The empirical analysis of Bundestag debates and original public opinion data reveal that the support for ‘Next Generation EU’ neither breaks with the Chancellor’s established ‘conservational-pragmatic’ approach to EU policy-making, nor separates the Chancellor from the preferences of the Bundestag and the public. Content analyses show how the government and its supporting camp in the Bundestag justified the apparent policy shift, underlining a strong agreement towards strengthening the EU in times of an unseen crisis, while at the same time revealing some noteworthy partisan differences.
Mapping public support for the varieties of differentiated integration
2023, Schüssler, Julian, Heermann, Max, Leuffen, Dirk, de Blok, Lisanne, de Vries, Catherine E.
This article maps and investigates public support for different types of differentiated integration (DI) in the European Union. We examine citizens’ preferences for DI using novel survey data from eight EU member states. The data reveals substantive differences in support for different types of DI. Factor analyses reveal two dimensions that seem to structure citizens’ evaluations of DI. The first dimension relates to the effect of DI on the European integration project, the second concerns the safeguarding of national autonomy. Citizens’ attitudes on this second dimension vary substantively across countries. General EU support is the most important correlate of DI support, correlating positively with the first and negatively with the second dimension. Our results underline that while citizens generally care about the fairness of DI, balancing out their different concerns can be a challenging political task.
Public support for differentiated integration : individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination
2022, Leuffen, Dirk, Schüssler, Julian, Gómez Díaz, Jana
Research on differentiated integration (DI) in the European Union has burgeoned in recent years. However, we still know little about citizens’ attitudes towards the phenomenon. In this article, we argue that at the level of individual citizens, liberal economic values increase support for DI. Stronger preferences for equality, in contrast, make opposition to the concept more likely. Similarly, concerns about discriminatory differentiation at the member state level lead citizens to oppose DI. We test the theoretical claims by analysing survey data on citizens’ attitudes towards a ‘multi-speed Europe’. Supporters of DI, indeed, are marked by liberal economic attitudes. In contrast to general EU support, we do not find robust correlations with socio-demographic variables. Moreover, the data reveal striking differences amongst macro-regions: support for DI has become much lower in Southern European states. We attribute this opposition to negative repercussions of the Eurozone crisis.
Who Deserves European Solidarity? : How Recipient Characteristics Shaped Public Support for International Medical and Financial Aid during COVID-19
2023, Heermann, Max, Koos, Sebastian, Leuffen, Dirk
International solidarity is indispensable for coping with global crises; however, solidarity is frequently constrained by public opinion. Past research has examined who, on the donor side, is willing to support European and international aid. However, we know less about who, on the recipient side, is perceived to deserve solidarity. The article argues that potential donors consider situational circumstances and those relational features that link them to the recipients. Using factorial survey experiments, we analyse public support for international medical and financial aid in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results show that recipient countries' situational need and control, as well as political community criteria, namely, group membership, adherence to shared values and reciprocity, played a crucial role in explaining public support for aid. Important policy implications result: on the donor side, fault-attribution frames matter; on the recipient side, honouring community norms is key to receiving aid.
Differentiated integration in the European Union : Institutional effects, public opinion, and alternative flexibility arrangements
2023, Schimmelfennig, Frank, Leuffen, Dirk, de Vries, Catherine E.
Research on differentiated integration (DI) in the European Union (EU) has focused on the causes, conditions, and patterns of differentiation in European integration. By contrast, we know less about its effects on institutional outcomes and public support; moreover, alternatives to de jure DI in providing flexibility are still rarely accounted for. This introduction to the special issue takes stock of, and discusses omissions, in the current literature on DI. We propose an analytical framework, centering on efficiency and legitimacy, to study the effects of different types of DI. We use this framework to motivate the choice and assess the contributions of the articles selected for this special issue.
European Solidarity and the Politics of Blame and Reciprocity
2022-10-11, Leuffen, Dirk, Heermann, Max, Baute, Sharon
European solidarity can be built or broken on popular ideas of blame and reciprocity. But political leaders are more than passive conduits for public opinion. Drawing on social science research, Sharon Baute, Max Heermann, and Dirk Leuffen argue that the narratives we use to explain Europe’s many crises are key to the emergence of shared European solutions.
Nur wer sich ändert, bleibt sich treu? : Die Europapolitik der Regierung Merkel IV
2022, Heermann, Max, Leuffen, Dirk, Tigges, Fabian, Mounchid, Pascal
Das im Jahr 2020 verhandelte und seit 2021 implementierte Pandemie-Wiederaufbauprogramm „Next Generation EU“ bricht mit dem Tabu gemeinschaftlicher europäischer Schuldenhaftung. In diesem Kapitel analysieren wir, ob die deutsche Unterstützung dieses Programms einen programmatischen Wandel in der deutschen Europapolitik darstellt oder aber mit den vorherigen Grundprinzipien Angela Merkels Europapolitik in Einklang zu bringen ist. Die empirische Analyse von Bundestagsdebatten, Wahlprogrammen und Meinungsumfragen baut auf einem Korridor-Modell nationalstaatlicher europapolitischer Präferenzbildung auf, welches institutionalistische und ideelle Faktoren kombiniert. Inhaltsanalysen zeigen, dass sich die Position der Kanzlerin innerhalb des Präferenzkorridors von Bundestag und deutscher Öffentlichkeit bewegte. Ferner erscheinen die Bundesregierung und die pro-europäischen Fraktionen im Bundestag geeint in ihrer Sorge um ein Auseinanderbrechen der EU. Übergeordnete Werte begründen also den situativ begrenzten Richtungsschwenk; dieser stellt somit keinen Bruch mit dem etablierten „konservatorisch-programmatischen“ Ansatz der Kanzlerin dar. Unsere Analyse deckt gleichsam parteipolitische Differenzen zu einer Fiskalunion auf – ein Befund, der Fragen zur weiteren Entwicklung bundesdeutscher Europapolitik aufwirft.