Europe’s trust deficit: Causes and remedies

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Series Details No.1
Publication Date August 2017
ISBN 978-1-912179-04-6
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Policy implications

1. Data on trust in European institutions suggest there is no real danger of the EU disintegrating. The crisis has left a toll, but economic shocks have not significantly affected attitudes towards the EU, with the UK being an outlier.

2. As economic conditions in the Eurozone improve, support for the EU might increase. Evidence of this has been seen historically, and in the recent French and Dutch elections.

3. There are still grounds for caution. Older cohorts and less-educated individuals have less trust in parliaments (both national and European), with technology and globalisation dividing opinions.

4. To maintain support for European integration, the EU must deliver responses to the main grievances amongst societies, and not simply focus on economic stability. These include: promoting growth and employment; protecting those left behind by technological change and globalisation, particularly older individuals; and addressing the lack of transparency and accountability of European institutions.

The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) was founded in 1983 to enhance the quality of economic policy-making within Europe and beyond, by fostering high quality, policy-relevant economic research, and disseminating it widely to decision-makers in the public and private sectors. Drawing together the expertise of its 1000 Research Fellows and Affiliates, mainly in Europewan universities, CEPR initiates, funds and coordinates research activities and communicates the results quickly and effectively to decision makers around the world. The Centre is an independent, non-profit organization and takes no institutional policy positions.

CEPR calls itself a 'thinknet' rather than 'think tank'. It is a distributed network of economists, who are affiliated with but not employed by CEPR, and who collaborate through the Centre on a wide range of policy-related research projects and dissemination activities.Distrust in Europe's political institutions fuelled the Brexit vote and a rise in nationalist parties. Was this tide of populism unique? Or is the EU at risk of further disintegration? This report finds that anti-EU sentiment is much more sensitive to national identity than economics. This suggests that a positive economic outlook will not magically restore support for the European Project. The EU needs to address the main worries of its citizens.

In this first report of CEPR's new series, Monitoring International Integration, a group of leading academics provide policy solutions to these important socio-economic issues. They achieve this by studying financial crises, income distribution, economic development, immigration, culture, identity and elections across Europe.

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Related Links, 23.08.17: Populism and trust in Europe

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