What type of Europe? The salience of polity and policy issues in EP elections.

What type of Europe? The salience of polity and policy issues in EP elections.

New article published with Daniela Braun and Alena Kerscher in European Union Politics

What type of Europe?

The salience of polity and policy issues in EP elections

 

Daniela Braun, LMU Munich

Swen Hutter, European University Institute

Alena Kerscher, LMU Munich

 

Abstract

How much and why do political parties emphasize Europe in election campaigns? The literature is increasingly focusing on two aspects of party issue competition: position and salience. However, recent studies on salience tend to ignore the fact that Europe is a compound political issue. This article contributes to the debate by highlighting the crucial difference between constitutive and policy-related European issues. Using data from the Euromanifestos Project for fourteen EU member states for the period 1979 to 2009, we first show that Europe is much more salient in EP elections than previously assumed. Second, EU issue salience depends on party position and party system polarization over European integration. However, different explanations come into play once we bring in the polity-vs.-policy distinction. This has important implications for our understanding of party competition on European integration.

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