The EUROPINIONS project studies the causes and consequences of change in public opinion about the European Union. By investigating the nature and composition of citizens’ EU attitudes, we take a closer look at the origins of these attitudes, their development over time, and their effects on attitudes and behaviours. Our project is cross-national and comparative in nature and focuses in particular on the role of the media as a key antecedent of change.
Public opinion towards European integration and the EU is divided, especially in light of ongoing developments in the Union. From being a consensual topic with stable and broad support, it is now a point of contention with rapidly changing opinions. The future of European integration requires public support, but not enough is known about what drives and affects EU attitudes. Opinions may change due to global developments, national politics, and personal experiences, but also in response to new information from (social) media and interpersonal communication. Therefore, one of the central questions of this project is when, how, for whom, and with what consequences communication affects changes in public opinion on the European Union. To approach this question from an interdisciplinary perspective, the Europinions team consists of researchers from both Communication and Political Science.
We are currently conducting an extensive data collection, including a multi-country panel survey, media content analysis, and multiple experiments. Thus far we have finished three waves of our panel survey in the Netherlands and one flash survey in the spring of 2018. These interviews are complemented by data from an ongoing content analysis in a variety of Dutch media outlets and several experimental studies in the Netherlands and Denmark. At the moment, we are in the process of planning upcoming surveys and content analyses in a variety of additional EU countries. Starting in the fall of 2018, we will collect additional panel and media data in Germany, Spain, Hungary, and Denmark.
We presented our work at several international conferences in the past two years, including the ICA in San Diego and Prague, EPSA in Milan and Vienna, ECPR in Oslo, WAPOR in Barcelona and Marrakesh, and ECREA in Odense and Zurich. In 2018, we co-organized a workshop at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Nicosia on the political consequences of Euroscepticism. Thus far, our work on “The dynamics of changes in EU attitudes and their effects on voting” and “Trust in the European Union. Effects of media visibility and tonality” have been accepted for publication in Acta Politica and European Journal of Communication.