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The Europe of ElitesA Study into the Europeanness of Europe's Political and Economic Elites$

Heinrich Best, György Lengyel, and Luca Verzichelli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602315.001.0001

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Introduction: European integration as an elite project

Introduction: European integration as an elite project

(p.1) 1 Introduction: European integration as an elite project
The Europe of Elites

Heinrich Best

György Lengyel

Luca Verzichelli

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter defines the volume’s key concepts and introduces the main research questions addressed in the following chapters. Following a review of literature dealing with the challenges of European integration, it focuses on the emergence of various forms of Euroscepticism, Europhobia, and Europhilia among different sectors of the national elites. The notion of Europeanness is introduced as a manifold and compound concept used to analyse differences among the national elites surveyed in this study. Three dimensions of Europeanness appear: emotive, cognitive, and projective. Finally, the chapter introduces the explicit empirical questions addressed by the various chapters: from the question of the career perspective in a supranational scenario, to the problems of European socialization of national representatives and economic stakeholders; from the question of the elite–masses gap to changes in the domestic political discourse of party elite. The methodological and theoretical approaches utilized in the different chapters are also discussed.

Keywords:   Europeanness, European integration, Euroscepticism, Europhobia, Europhilia, elite–masses gap, Eurelitism, functional integration theory, multilevel governance, representative democracy, intergovernmental theory of integration, theory of permissive consensus, European identity, scope of governance

1.1 Eurelitism: A Top-Down View on the Project of European Unification

It is a widely shared view and oft-quoted criticism that the contemporary process of European unification has been and still is steered and driven by the initiative of elites. A more positive perspective is that, after centuries of bloody conflicts born out of dynastic rivalries, religious tensions, clashes of economic interests, nationalistic ideologies, and racist hubris, and following two cataclysmic world wars, during the second half of the twentieth century European elites gradually reoriented themselves to policies of peaceful cooperation and economic and political integration. In an era of ever more effective weapons of mass destruction, a continuation of European auto-aggression would have eliminated completely the already gravely weakened status and influence of European elites in world politics and economics. In Western Europe, the process of integration was furthered by the threat that state socialism posed to representative democracy and private property––the two main institutional pillars of Western elite regimes. In the 1950s, ‘s’unir ou périr’ (unite or perish) was a widespread catchphrase, highlighting the imperative of a pan-European elite consensus under the pressure of a common threat (Haas 1958, 1964). The end of European state socialism in the 1990s removed this threat and opened the way to include Eastern Europe in the process of European integration. The newly emerging ‘Russian threat’, because it has no basis in a universalistic ideology and does not question the institutional foundations of private property and representative democracy, seems to be less salient and more of a divisive than a unifying factor for the rest of (p.2) Europe. It marks the return to old policies of regionalized power rivalries, particularly concerning the territory of the former Soviet Empire.

The incongruous consequences of the fall of European state socialism and the collapse of the Soviet Empire––i.e. the removal of strong external pressures towards (Western) European political and economic integration, and the simultaneous expansion of the area of European integration into territories under former Soviet control––have dramatically changed the rationale of European unification as an elite process: there were suddenly many more options and fewer pressures in the agenda of European integration. The fact that, notwithstanding some setbacks such as the rejection of the European constitution in several national referenda, European integration is still widening and deepening indicates that it is driven by forces largely independent of immediate external threats and pressures, and that this impetus is being maintained by an endogenous logic.

This observation seems to give support to functional integration theory, developed in the late 1950s and for decades the cornerstone of European integration theory (Schmitter 2004). It holds,

that integration between hitherto separate units emerges because this leads to gains in productivity and welfare. Once integration has been initiated in one sector, it spills over to other sectors and from the economic to the political sphere. Thus, integration processes acquire a logic of their own and reinforce themselves with increasing international exchange and divisions of labour. The final stage will be a highly integrated economic and political community. (Haller 2008: 56; see also Deutsch et al. 1957; Haas 1958, 1964; Jensen 2003)

It is nevertheless paradoxical that, although functional integration theory describes European integration as beneficial to elites, it does so without having to take the contribution of the main decision makers, who are guiding and driving this process, into consideration. The functional imagery is based on ‘teleological thinking, which assumes an inherent logic of development and a well-defined final stage’ (Haller 2008: 56), thereby attributing to elites, perhaps with the exception of initiating the process, the subsidiary role of merely following a predetermined course of history.

The book introduced here pursues a different approach. It perceives the ongoing process of European integration primarily as the result of conscious and often controversial decisions made by its domestic (or national) elites. These decisions are constrained by the pressures that national populations exert on elites’ decision making, often with unintended consequences, but they are neither predetermined in their course nor necessarily leading to a fixed destination. Different decisions by elites have been possible in the past and may have led (under the same or divergent circumstances) to different developments and outcomes of the integration process. The actor- (and (p.3) action-) centred approach pursued in this book is reflected in its title, The Europe of Elites, which refers to the unplanned and imperfect Babylonian tower resulting from the accumulated construction work of several generations of European elites under changing conditions, following different standards and building plans.

We pursue an elite-centred approach because the contractual nature of European unification as a sequel and system of treaties puts elites in a pivotal role. They are the consignors, architects, and contractors involved in the metaphorical building of the European ‘Tower of Babylon’. This approach does not negate the highly relevant and independent role of non-elites in the process of European integration, which is addressed in the final chapters of this book, as well as in greater detail in other volumes resulting from the IntUne project. The present book covers the impact that the general population, or ‘masses’, have on elites, and elites’ responses to pressures originating in the general population, but it does not consider the influences exerted by elites on mass opinion. The fact that the voice of the general population can sometimes redirect the course of history and that they have powerful means to sanction their leaders is, however, reflected in the theoretical and empirical findings of this book.

It starts with the assumption that there is a formal and factual asymmetry between elites and non-elites, in that the former are formally entitled (by laws and constitutions) or factually empowered (by property rights) to make and influence decisions on behalf of the latter. The focus of our conceptual and empirical work is, therefore, the visions, attitudes, and opinions of elites concerning European integration. We address national elites specifically, because we maintain that the multilevel construction of the European edifice still attributes a pivotal role to national political and social institutions, and to the elites who are running them. The institutional grid of European integration is based on the principle of the equality of the states involved and on their agreement over the distribution of competences between the levels of the European system of governance (Scharpf 2009b; Cotta and Isernia 2009). The introduction of some majoritarian principles and the extension of the rights of the EU Parliament in the EU decision-making processes and the election of EU officials has not annulled the fact that the process of European integration is continuously dependent on and driven by an accord of its national elites. Another reason for our focus on political and economic elites is that they are the main builders and operators of supranational European institutions.

As a result of our research approach, we conceptualize the process of European integration as one of elite integration leading to a consensus between national elites over their enduring cooperation and competition in a multilevel system of governance. Here we are adapting and transferring core (p.4) elements of the new elite paradigm to the theory of European integration. This argues that the key role in the interchange between actors and institutions belongs to elites in that they are the dominant actors. It also holds that the structure of elites has a major impact on the formation and reproduction of political and social institutions: a fragmented elite structure is most likely connected to serious disruptions in the reproduction of social and political order, whereas a unified elite structure is associated with a more stable social structure and the smoother operation of institutions. Unification of the elite can be reached either by the imposition of a dominant ideology, or by consensus. The theory of Higley, Burton, and others concerning the foundation of stable representative institutions presumes that democratic institutions can thrive on the basis of an elite settlement that secures a consensus over the functioning of institutions and over elites’ working within the framework of representative democracy (Higley and Burton 2006; Higley and Lengyel 2000; Field, Higley, and Burton 1990; Burton and Higley 1987). This consensus can, but need not necessarily, take the form of a formal agreement. It is, however, always the result of, and dependent on, an encompassing process of elite integration that provides the normative foundation and secures the structural basis of elite cooperation and peaceful competition within the framework of representative institutions.

We suggest that a similar process underlies the establishment and operation of the European system of multilevel governance, i.e. that it is based on a set of attitudes shared between European elites and favourable to the integration of Europe in the form of a system of multilevel governance. We examine the status of these attitudes within the wider concept of Europeanness, which will be outlined in the following pages. This theoretical approach leads to one of the central questions addressed in this book: to what extent, more than sixty years after the end of the Second World War, and twenty years after the breakdown of state socialism, are European elites integrated and united by a coherent concept of European integration and a common attachment to Europe? Our theoretical approach also raises the question of the determinants of European elites’ Europeanness. In other words: what drives the drivers of European unification and integration and what makes the brakemen apply the brakes? The prime focus of this book is, therefore, the question: to what extent and why do European national elites share a common set of cognitive concepts, norms, and interests that orient their actions towards European integration?

A self-interest in European integration seems to be more evident in the ‘Eurocracy’, i.e. among position holders in the central institutions of the European Union and in ‘substitute bureaucracies’ working towards EU institutions in the member states, than among European national elites who are not part of the Eurocracy or of their national dependencies (Hooghe 2001; Haller (p.5) 2008: 44). One approach that helps to explain national elites favouring policies of European unification and their support for a transfer of elements of sovereignty to higher levels of the system of European multilevel governance is the intergovernmental theory of integration. This theory suggests that integration is a strategy pursued by national governments in order to gain security in risky international environments and to cope by concerted action with the challenges of globalization. Integration thereby ‘strengthens the position of national governments both within their own state and at the international level’ (Haller 2008: 56; Milward 1992/2000; Moravčsik1998). The strong ‘Eurelitist’ bias in this approach has been systematized in the theory of permissive consensus, which maintains that the process of European unification is mainly driven by the self-interest of elites who enjoy a fairly wide margin of autonomy, as opposed to the general population, in pursuing policies of European integration (Hooghe and Marks 2008). According to this approach, European integration is seen by elites as ‘a means to advance political goals which they would not be able to enforce alone’ (Haller 2008: 42).

The perception of European integration and unification as an elite project, designed to put an end to debilitating conflicts and rivalries by consolidating a common power base and by pooling Europe’s economic resources, does not imply that these policies contradict the interests and wishes of the vast majority of the population. On the contrary: peace, prosperity, and mobility are highly desirable achievements of European unification and integration, and they were and still are strong attractors for populations in many non-member states to join the EU (Lindberg and Scheingold 1970). This even includes countries like Serbia, where political interventions from the EU have violated the deeply felt national sentiments of large parts of the population (Best 2009). In this sense, the theory of permissive consensus perceives public and elite interest in European integration as being mutually reinforcing. Among the many factors advancing the integration of national elites into a Eurelite, the following are of particular significance for this work:

  • National elites are interested in empowerment and public support through being part of a supranational political and economic organization that offers them a stronger impact on world political and economic affairs. This also means they can give greater protection to their national realms from adverse developments from outside the EU than they could provide on their own.

  • They develop a feeling of belongingness to a common European space and of sameness with elites in other European countries based on shared cultural traditions, belief systems––be they religious or secular––and the multigenerational experience of a common history.

  • (p.6) The close interaction of national elites results in the emergence of social and institutional elite networks at the European level, thereby enhancing the elites’ social integration into a ‘Eurelite’.

1.1.1 Sources of Elites’ Euroscepticism

As well as factors supporting favourable attitudes among European national elites towards European integration, there are also countervailing tendencies (Haller 2008: 41–7). Of foremost importance is the interest of national political elites to safeguard a national arena of decision making and to prevent multilevel governance from being imposed over the national realm (Milward 1992/2000). National political elites are answerable to national electorates and do not want to be punished by their voters for unpopular policies imposed on them by European institutions. National economic elites compete on national markets and often do not want full competition from abroad. The question here is: what does prevail, Eurelitism with its positive attitude of national elites towards European integration, or national elitism with its protectionist attitudes towards national political arenas and economic markets?

Elements of Euroscepticism have been manifest in several segments of European political elites since the start of the European integration process. Recently, however, they have been enhanced by a growing antipathy within national populations towards deepening integration. The creation of a labyrinth-like superstructure of European institutions, which intervene from afar in the affairs of European populations, and the cession of national sovereignty rights to political bodies that are inaccessible for any direct interventions by European electorates, have contributed to an estrangement between the Europe of citizens and the Europe of elites (Rohrschneider 2002; Eichenberg and Dalton 2007). Indicative of this gap is the fact that a deepening of European integration through the introduction of a European constitution or through the signing of a new fundamental treaty has been rejected by referenda in some traditionally EU-friendly countries, such as Ireland. There are many signs indicating that the ‘happy days’ of Eurelitism being able to count on a quiescent public opinion are over and that elites are now confronted with an increase in the salience of Europe-related issues among the general population and its growing Euroscepticism. As a result, Hooghe and Marks (2008) have suggested replacing the concept of permissive consensus with the notion of ‘constraining dissensus’. Their argument focuses on the relation between elites and the wider public, and attributes a greater role to non-elites as a consequence of the conflictual politicization of European issues. The decisive arguments here are that Europe has become an important issue in national political agendas and that the public discourse on Europe is essentially about (p.7) identity rather than material advantages; hence the labelling of these theories as post-functionalist.

It is obvious, therefore, that theoretical and empirical approaches designed to describe and explain European national elites’ attitudes towards European integration also have to encompass Euroscepticism (Fuchs, Roger, and Magni-Berton 2009). Consequently, we see Europeanness as a bipolar concept whose main components should ideally converge: at one extreme there is ‘Europhilia’ (or the full set of pro-European orientations) and at the other, outright ‘Europhobia’. We also maintain that Europeanness is essentially a multidimensional concept and that its elements may be loosely coupled; sometimes they may even appear in contradictory configurations among national elites. In sum, it cannot be assumed that all European elites are riding on a one-way ticket towards a federal European state, as a somewhat simplified version of functionalist theories would suggest.

With regard to the interests of political and economic elites, we see an inclination to keep their national power bases and markets intact and, in the case of political elites, to respond to the preferences of their national electorates, all of which may play out against pro-integrationist orientations. We see also that most elites are educated and socialized in national institutions, which has the effect of bonding them more closely to their national cultures and institutions. For national political elites, we have also to consider that they are formally bound to national loyalty and thereby have to put the interests of their countries first. We finally have to emphasize the role of ‘selectorates’ in limiting the Europeanness of Europe’s national political elites (Putnam 1976; Aberbach et al. 1981; Kenig 2009). The European elites’ selectorates, supporting networks, and information flows are still mainly based on and limited by their national realms, which may orient them towards their home countries.

That elites’ interests, feelings, and networks can either enhance and strengthen or restrain and reduce their Europeanness gives rise to the question most contributions in this book address, namely under what circumstances does the pendulum swing to one side or the other of a given indicator of Europeanness? We assume, however, and take it as the starting point of our study, that European elites are generally more devoted to the project of European unification than the general population; in this way we can think of them as the native citizens of the Europe of Elites. This assumption has been empirically confirmed by analyses based on the data of the IntUne project. These show that––after controlling for several social and demographic variables related to elite status, such as education, gender, and age––there is still a strong and highly significant positive net effect of elite status of members in national political and economic elites on indicators of Europeanness regarding their attachment to Europe, their positive evaluation of the European (p.8) integration process, and their attitudes towards a future transfer of competences concerning foreign policy to the European level (Best 2009). In this respect, Eurelitism is a well established and empirically sound concept. It is, however, no rocher de bronze of attitudinal consistency and stability. The countervailing interests, emotions, and associations mentioned in this chapter are present simultaneously and make their impact on Europeanness in each national elite, on public and private organizations, such as parties and business companies, and, not least, on each individual member of the elite. How these countervailing forces play out, what impact individual predispositions, contextual conditions, and situational influences have on elites’ attitudes and orientations towards Europe and their integration will be shown in the pages of this book. It is obvious that such an approach requires a research design which uses the individual as the primordial object of observation, proceeding from there to higher-level aggregates, such as organizations and whole societies or polities, and ultimately to the pan-European level.

1.1.2 Foundations and Emanations of Europeanness

If elites are the drivers of European integration, the question of what is driving them is the next question to be addressed. We assume that attitudes towards European integration are mainly oriented by a composite set of perceptions and sentiments which we refer to as ‘Europeanness’ (Bruter 2005; McLaren 2006; Fligstein 2008; Checkel and Katzenstein 2008). In various forms, this concept is the main explanandum examined in this book. We suggest looking at Europeanness as a multidimensional concept with an emotive, a cognitive-evaluative, and a projective-conative dimension. We are referring here to an established theoretical tool of the behavioural sciences that can be traced back to the Weberian theory of social action (Weber 1922/1980). Other authors have used it to conceptualize European identity by distinguishing between feeling, thinking, and doing (Immerfall et al. 2010). The emotive (feeling) dimension refers to positive or negative feelings of attachment towards European unification and integration. The cognitive-evaluative (thinking) dimension refers to the assessment and degree of approval of the present state of European integration and unification. Although it seems plausible to say that Europeanization is more a project than a process (Checkel and Katzenstein 2009), the actions of national elites are not studied here directly. Instead of using direct measures of elite behaviour, the projective-conative (doing) dimension is referred to by the approval or disapproval of prospects of higher levels of European unification and integration in the institutional setting of the EU (see Chapter 4). It is assumed that the emotive, the cognitive-evaluative, and the conative-projective dimensions are distinguishable aspects of the common underlying construct of Europeanness. This assumption (p.9)

Table 1.1. Foundations, dimensions, and emanations of Europeanness




Time horizon













destiny and purpose




implies that indicators referring to these three dimensions show a positive, albeit weak to moderate, correlation (see Chapters 2 and 10). We also assume that the three dimensions of Europeanness are rooted in deeper mental layers of attitude formations so that, for example, evaluations of and approaches towards European integration are derived from ideas of sameness between European populations that result from cognitive representations of history. Accordingly, attachment to Europe is an identification based on feelings of belongingness. The willingness to transfer control over important policy areas to a supranational European level rests in a ‘progressive’ perception of Europe’s destiny and future purpose (see Table 1.1).

We expect to find that processes of European integration have been, and still are, based on and driven by high levels of Europeanness among European elites; we also expect to find somewhat lower but nevertheless high degrees of Europeanness among ordinary citizens. This assumption is founded on the fact that European unification and integration is basically a consensual process, highly dependent on the agreement of the vast majorities of actors involved and ultimately submitted to democratic scrutiny. Agreement and consent are expected to be based on shared affection for and approval of Europe’s unity and its further integration.

The tripolar concept of Europeanness has obvious links to the categories of identity, representation, and scope of governance, which form the topical grid of the IntUne project (Cotta and Isernia 2009). Collective political identities are based on ‘sentiments of solidarity’ (Weber 1922/1980: 244; Best 2011) and can therefore be placed close to the emotive pole of the concept of Europeanness. Representation is about designing appropriate institutional mechanisms of transferring and transforming popular preferences, including grievances, to the upper levels of the political system, and can therefore be located close to the cognitive pole of the concept of Europeanness. Finally, scope of governance is evidently linked to implementing policies and to the allocation of agency in the political system, and can therefore be positioned close to the conative pole of the concept of Europeanness. Consequently, our book will enquire into the Europeanness of political and economic elites’ attitudes towards identity, representation, and scope of governance, assuming that there are special relationships between sentiments and identity, cognitions and representation, actions and governance. The reader has to be aware that this (p.10) enquiry focuses on elites, i.e. on those who construct collective identities, who represent and govern the general population. Therefore, a concept like citizenship has a completely different significance when applied to elites compared to the general population. It refers not to civic empowerment and efficacy, but rather to a constraint, limiting the agency of those who are exerting economic or political power.

Previous studies have already shed some light on the processes of convergence, agreement, and consent among national European elites, although they were mainly restricted to examining structural integration. Diachronic analyses of legislative recruitment and career patterns of parliamentary representatives in Europe show converging processes of professionalization and modernization in Western Europe after World War II (Best and Cotta 2000; Cotta and Best 2007; Best 2007). Other studies have focused on the role of elites in the process of establishing and running the institutional framework of European multilevel governance. From these we can see that the phenomenon of Europeanization, traditionally associated with public policies, is today much more related to the dimension of politics. The processes of integration between and interdependence among different European realities therefore relate increasingly to the transformation of national politics––for instance to the typical ‘domestic’ world of parties and party systems (Mair 2007). Comparative analyses of the ‘politics of Euroscepticism’ (Szczerbiak and Taggart 2008) provide an insight into the complex set of countervailing factors that are increasingly working in European party systems against a deepening of European integration. Although the evolution of the European Union’s institutional setting has evidently worked as a catalyst for elite convergence in Europe (Best, Cotta, and Verzichelli 2006), it is also true that the same process generates a countervailing momentum which feeds the forces of Euroscepticism. A comprehensive analytical framework, which would require comprehensive empirical analyses of these contradictory and highly complex processes, has not been undertaken so far because of a lack of sufficient data (Hartmann 2010; Haller 2008; Hooghe 2003; Gabel and Scheve 2007; Lane et al. 2007). The data from the IntUne project provide an opportunity to redress this deficiency and to make an in-depth investigation of these issues (see Chapter 9).

The book presented here is based on the results of surveys conducted in 2007 that targeted political and economic elites in eighteen European countries (see Appendix); Chapters 8 and 10 also utilized sample surveys of the general population in seventeen European countries. The survey of political elites consisted of eighteen sub-samples drawn from members of national parliaments including top-raking politicians (N = 1411). Data on economic elites were captured by contacting Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and top managers in equivalent positions of the 500 biggest companies at national (p.11) level, as well as leaders of banks and employers’ organizations, in each of the eighteen European countries involved in the IntUne elite surveys (N = 730). Both IntUne elite surveys were directed by the principal investigators in the participating countries and conducted by their research teams (with the exception of Denmark, where a commercial polling institute was involved). Data were gathered by personal interviews, either face to face or by telephone.

With the exception of Serbia, all countries involved in the IntUne surveys were EU member states when the fieldwork was carried out. Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Slovenia (only general population), the Czech Republic, and Lithuania (only elites) represent new member countries from post-communist Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in our survey; Belgium, France, (West) Germany, and Italy represent founding countries; while the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Austria represent the pre-CEE accession countries in Western and Southern Europe. The inclusion of political and economic elites in the IntUne surveys enabled us to compare the attitudes and orientations of national elites with those of the general population towards a wide area of European issues in both, formerly separated parts of Europe.

The questionnaires of the two elites surveys and the public opinion survey had a wide overlap of comparable questions as well as sizeable elite-specific and citizen-specific sections. In all questionnaires, large sections were devoted to the investigation of the fundamental concepts used in the theoretical framework of the IntUne project, such as, for example, the notion of European citizenship (Cotta and Isernia 2009). Information concerning the concepts of identity and attachment (local/regional, national, and European), representation (mainly referring to concepts of representation and the cession of sovereignty rights to European institutions), and scope of governance (mainly referring to the allocation of policy competences) in the context of European institutions, was particularly sought. Besides a standard demography, the elite questionnaires contain items referring to transnational social networks, institutional networks (specifically relating to European institutions), and the cultural competences of elites (mainly language skills). These are used as independent variables to explain the variation in European elites’ Europeanness.

1.2 Structure of the Volume

The multidimensional nature of elites’ Europeanness, and a number of related issues, will be explored in the following chapters, which form the substantive contributions of the present volume. As suggested earlier, the common thread running through these chapters is the general effort to explore a number of (p.12) questions that can be somehow associated with the compound phenomenon we call the Europeanness of political and economic elites. More specifically, this book is about the visions and attitudes developed by European national elites and their different perceptions of the European reality. After specifying a cognitive and interpretative framework, each chapter attempts to reduce the complexity of such visions emerging from the wealth of data to hand, and to offer its own answers based on a selection of variables and the use of a standard set of descriptive and confirmatory statistical tools. For the first time, a comprehensive view on the ‘Europe of the elites’, including the democracies of Central and Central Eastern Europe and both political and economic elites will be possible. The IntUne project united social scientists, mainly political scientists and sociologists, in discussing and exploring the foundations of European integration. The researchers who took part in the design of the surveys are now sharing a unique wealth of data from which it is possible to understand the elites’ views of Europe.

In Chapter 2, Cotta and Russo provide a systematic analysis of European elites’ normative integration by exploring the multifaceted combination of attitudes concerning the three components analysed in the IntUne project: identity, scope of governance, and representation. After discussing a comprehensive analysis of the variation within the attitudes of European national elites, the authors introduce a typology of elite outlooks vis-à-vis the idea of EU citizenship. Hubé and Verzichelli (Chapter 3) approach the problem of European national elites’ structural integration by investigating their involvement in European career patterns and policy networks. This is an independent but crucial aspect of Europeanness which is linked to the career prospects of elites in a supranational European arena. Structural integration of European national elites will be explored both in terms of country-specific factors and individual characteristics.

The central section of the volume explores a number of aspects of elites’ Europeanness that are covered by specific sections of the IntUne elite survey. In Chapter 4, Real-Dato, Göncz, and Lengyel provide a systematic investigation of the views of political and economic elites with regards to EU responsibilities in specific policy fields. Their findings confirm the more complex and controversial attitudinal structure of national political elites in comparison to economic elites. From a different angle, Matonytė and Morkevičius (Chapter 5) analyse the data by focussing on elites’ perception of potential external and internal threats to a cohesive Europe. The data show that internal rather than external threats prevail and that there is a correlation between the threats identified by national elites and the degree of trust in the current EU institutional scenario. In Chapter 6, Gaxie and Hubé explore variations in the views of national elites with regard to the powers to be assigned to different European institutions and to the role of national governments in the process (p.13) of decision making. The array of different explananda is completed in Chapter 7 (Lazić, Jerez-Mir, Vuletic, and Vázquez-García), where regional variation in the elites’ vision of European integration is under scrutiny.

In the final section, the volume deals with three broad issues which can be adequately analysed in the light of the IntUne data. In Chapter 8, Müller, Jenny, and Ecker touch upon a question which goes beyond the mere ‘elite attitudinal profile’, by measuring the scale of the elites–masses gap with regard to a variety of attitudes towards European unification and integration. The implications of these differences on the attitudes of European elites, in terms of national policies towards European unification, are discussed, identifying the factors that can play a role in such dynamics. In Chapter 9, Conti provides an analysis of the positions of parties and party families, relying on a comprehensive description of the political discourse presented by the ‘Euromanifestos’, and interpreting the variance showed by these data across countries and across the different components of European citizenship. In Chapters 10 and 11, Best returns to the multidimensional character of elites’ Europeanness, developed in this Introduction. These concluding chapters aim at identifying the individual and contextual factors which determine elites’ attitudes towards European unification and integration. In Chapter 11, he gives a synopsis of the main results of this book and links them to the theoretical propositions and research concepts outlined in the present Introduction. The Appendix by Lengyel and Jahr provides a description of the sampling methods, the questionnaire, and techniques concerning data collection.

Taken as a whole, this book sets out to answer the central question of whether and to what extent, more than sixty years after the Second World War and two decades after the breakdown of state socialism, are European elites integrated and united by a common and binding set of ideas and attitudes that we can call Europeanness. Although the editors and authors of this volume are not claiming to have the final word on European integration as an elite process––if for no other reason, because the process is still ongoing––we nevertheless maintain that the IntUne project is a large step forward in the effort of a sizeable community of scholars to collect and analyse comparative elite and mass opinion data on the process of European integration. For these reasons, we are confident that the research and findings discussed in the chapters to follow offer a valuable aid, both in theoretical and empirical terms, for those who want to understand and evaluate this process.