Identity, Instrumental Self-Interest and Institutional Evaluations: Explaining Public Opinion on Common European Policies in Foreign Affairs and Defence

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Series Details Volume 9, Number 1, Pages 5-30
Publication Date March 2008
ISSN 1465-1165
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This paper addresses public opinion on common European policies in foreign affairs and defence. It proposes three models of support for common policies in these fields. Drawing on Eurobarometer data, the analysis shows that instrumental self-interest and territorial identities contribute considerably to explaining support for common foreign affairs and defence policies. Moreover, support for common policies is strongly driven by domain-specific evaluations of the European Union's performance.

These findings suggest that popular support for common European policies in foreign affairs and defence has an experiential base. Thus, elites have an incentive to respond to public opinion when making policy decisions, so this analysis supports the liberal view in international relations rather than the realist account.

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