Fostering a European identity is unlikely to be a successful method for increasing citizens’ trust in the EU

The financial crisis has rekindled debates about the legitimacy of the European Union and, in particular, whether citizens trust the EU. Using Eurobarometer data, Eelco Harteveld analyses three possible sources for trust in the EU: rational evaluation, identity and projection. He proposes that as trust continues to decline in governments of all kinds, the strongest predictor of citizen trust in […]

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The EU may have a democratic deficit, but national governments are facing an even greater legitimacy crisis

Trust in the EU has declined in several countries since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. Using Eurobarometer data, Besir Ceka compares trust in the EU with the trust citizens place in the national governments of EU states. He notes that while both have declined during the crisis, most states still show higher levels of trust in the […]

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Falling support for the European Parliament, not the economic crisis, has led to a decline in support for the EU in Spain and Portugal.

In April, a major Eurobarometer study reported that there had been a decline in support for the European Union across Europe, especially in countries where the Eurozone crisis’ effects had been most severe. Mariano Torcal takes a closer look at the reasons behind falling support for the EU in Spain and Portugal. Using panel data, he finds that a significant […]

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The lack of public trust in political institutions is a massive obstacle to public policy change in Greece.

Since its initial bailout by the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank in 2009, Greece has struggled to implement the agreed measures. Theofanis Exadaktylos and Nikos Zahariadis write that declining levels of public trust across Greek political institutions mean that the government’s efforts at reform will continue to be ineffective. They argue that a long-term change in cultural paradigms […]

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Referendums may help to reduce tax evasion by fostering greater tax morale amongst citizens.

In several countries affected by the on-going Euro-crisis, tax collection is patchy and likely contributes to economic problems. In a comparative study of countries engaged in transitions from communist rule to democracy and market economies, Simon Hug and Franziska Spörri assess the interplay between trust and institutions and how this affects tax morale. The study finds that allowing for referendums […]

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Romania’s efforts in the fight against corruption may not be effective if they increase mistrust in political figures and institutions

Clara Volintiru looks at the recent indictment of Romania’s former prime minister on corruption charges. Whilst it is undoubtedly positive to pursue justice for corrupt politicians, there is a dilemma in how to tackle corruption and other sources of institutional mistrust, when questionable and selective prosecutions may reinforce this distrust. On the 20th of June, the international press enthusiastically announced […]

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