Party Systems and EU Accession: Euroskepticism in East Europe
What is the political relevance of EU accession to party system contestation in the East European (EE) states? Previous studies considering the issue are divided on the place of “Europe” as a competitive dimension of party politics. With regard to the pre-2004 member-states, one analysis finds “little evidence of any direct impact” of the Europe question on domestic party structure (Mair 2000, 28). In contrast, another study claims that the “permissive consensus” of earlier times has given way to political conditions that necessitate parties to take into account the European question (Sitter 2002). Concerning accession countries, one popular view is that integration issues have attained greater saliency for domestic politics (Kopecky and Mudde 2002) and that party systems are critical in explicating parties’ stance on European integration (Taggart and Szczerbiak 2004, 2–3). However, an opposing view stresses on the long-standing policy consensus on the “return to Europe” that renders the integration question a valence issue with little impact on political contestation in East Europe (Grabbe and Hughes 1999; Grzymala—Busse and Innes 2003).
KeywordsPolitical Party Vote Share Party System Domestic Politics Electoral Volatility
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