The 1999 European Parliament Elections and the Political Culture of European Integration
European elections take place against the background of the political culture of European integration. “Political culture” in this context means the attitudes, preferences, perceptions, knowledge, and behavioral propensities of the mass of European citizens vis-à-vis the European institutions in particular and European integration in general. In order to investigate the culture of integration in which the European Parliament elections of 1999 took place, this chapter first provides an overview of the development of orientations toward European integration since the early 1970s, including some examination of the limited evidence that exists on the cognitive aspect of these orientations. The chapter then focuses on the situation just prior to the 1999 elections and summarizes the main features of attitudes toward Europe and its institutions as the citizens prepared (or, as we know, in many cases did not prepare) to go to the polls to elect the members of the first European Parliament for the new millennium. This section of the chapter also provides a more detailed examination of two indicators of attitudes to integration, analyzing variations across countries and across the different social and demographic sectors of European society. The third main section of the chapter compares the attitudes and perceptions of citizens as manifested in the 1994 and 1999 European elections.
KeywordsPublic Opinion European Integration Political Culture Political Representation European Citizen
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