Party position changes through EU membership? The (Non-)Europeanisation of Austrian, Finnish and Swedish political parties

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Series Details No 103, April 2005
Publication Date 2005
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The article seeks to analyse whether a Europeanisation of national parties has taken place amongst the EU-newcomers of 1995 - Austria, Finland and Sweden - studying Euromanifestos. Europeanisation is measured based on two characteristics: first, salience a party attributes to the European level and second, policy positions a party holds towards European
issues. Moreover, we assume that Europeanisation may result in an impact on the traditional national cleavage lines changing the dominant Left-Right dimension. Our results show that Europeanisation in terms of salience has indeed taken place; Europeanisation in terms of policy position change, however, could only be observed in Sweden and Austria. Regarding the cleavage structure, we noticed a reinforcement of the Left-Right divide by the European
issue in Sweden and in Finland, while in Austria a new cleavage line could be identified: Green/Alternative/Libertarian versus Traditional/Authoritarian/Nationalism. The Europeanisation process has therefore progressed most strongly in Austria. Overall, we conclude that the European integration process does have an influence on national political parties.

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