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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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Ready to run Europe? Perspectives of a supranational career among EU national elites

Ready to run Europe? Perspectives of a supranational career among EU national elites

Chapter:
(p.43) 3 Ready to run Europe? Perspectives of a supranational career among EU national elites
Source:
The Europe of Elites
Author(s):

Nicolas Hubé

Luca Verzichelli

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602315.003.0003

Abstract and Keywords

Centred on the notion of supranational career, this chapter explores IntUne elite survey data to determine attitudes to rewards and career opportunities in a supranational context. After describing variance within the sample of economic and political elites concerning willingness for a supranational-level career, more intensive research on national political elites leads to a typology of different ‘career orientations’. From the emerging fragmented and differentiated scenario, few politicians seem clearly oriented towards a career in Europe, but few explicitly exclude the perspective. Most national political elite tend to evaluate the supranational perspective positively, while being neither highly informed nor particularly committed to it. Country and party-specific factors seem to determine the compound framework of ambitions that marks the world of European national elites. However, other intervening factors, such as type of elite skills, social background, and perception of the distance between EU polity and traditional national institutions also have explanatory potential.

Keywords:   political elite, economic elite, migration, career orientation, Europeanization, supranational career, transnational career

3.1 Domestic Elites and the Ambition to ‘Run Europe’

The key question in this chapter is to what extent European political and national elites consider professional advancement in the wider context of the EU. Answering this question will help us broaden our knowledge about the attitudes of national elites to being directly involved in EU issues and to considering the European polity as a structure of opportunity for their careers.

The emergence of a supranational dimension of the elite career perspective is certainly not a peculiarity of the European Union. The globalization of trade and the increasing number of influent supranational organizations have resulted in the emergence of a number of elite groups that are disconnected from the traditional power structure existing at the national level. This is particularly evident in the field of economic elites, due to the presumed emergence of a ‘super-class’ of global capitalists (Sklair 2001). However, the rise of a purely ‘supranational’ elite in the EU context appears to be a more complex problem. On the one hand, the scope of economic integration and the evolution of EU institutions have determined a unique case of supranational order, ruled by an increasing number of Eurocrats and open to the influence of business networks. On the other hand, the relationships between national and supranational elites (and especially between national and supranational political representatives (MEPs)) seem to be particularly close, because EU politics and policies have become fundamental factors in the career strategies of many aspirant leaders at the national level. Nonetheless, it is not easy to understand the effective strategic importance of holding a (p.44) supranational office rather than a national one, as suggested by the lack of significant differences in the career orientations of supranational MPs compared to their national colleagues (Franklin and Scarrow 1999; Scully 2005).

The rationale of this chapter is therefore rather simple: we want to measure and then to explain the extent to which national elites are oriented towards a supranational career (e.g. an office open to current national politicians in an EU institution, or a job for national business elites in the EU economic context). These orientations may be explained by the respective elites’ perception of the supranational environment’s relevance for their career and from the elites’ sense of attachment/detachment towards the supranational order. In other words, national elites will vary in the level of motivation to improve their skills and increase their competitiveness by investing their time and efforts in supranational activities. In this sense, a national politician or top manager can be inclined to act at the supranational level because it offers the potential of being a good environment for further advancement. On the other hand, it could be that an orientation towards a European career is based on feelings and ‘desires’ linked to support of the EU, so that we could expect to find this particularly among pro-European elites, rather than among those who are indifferent or oppositional. Thus defined, the multifaceted system of interests and orientations pushing a member of the national elite to follow a career at the European level can be conceived as part of the composite notion of Europeanness that is at the core of this book.

Looking at the historical evolution of the process of European integration, we see that the inclination of national elites to ‘run Europe’ has been weak for a long time, and is still not very strong today. Indeed, when it is argued that Europe is an elite project (see Chapter 1), this refers to national elites. In his recent study, Haller (2008) underscores this point by arguing that room for the creation of a genuine supranational European elite has always been limited, and that this is particularly true for politicians.

As a matter of fact, the very expression ‘to run Europe’ was formulated with regard to the European bureaucratic elite (Page 1997) who are those who further the integration process and try to enhance their own career ‘in the name of Europe’ (Hooghe 2001). National politicians, however, seem to be less interested in becoming fully Europeanized: they do not tend to ‘go native’ as Europeans (Scully 2005). In light of this we assume that their disposition to invest time and effort in supranational institutions will depend on partisan and country-specific factors.

Having a truly comparative and cross-national data set at our disposal, one which includes information about the motivations of national political and economic elites for an EU-based career, we can explore the different preferences in terms of elites’ future ambitions and their perceptions of the structure of opportunity provided by the European Union.

(p.45) ‘Career’, ‘ambition’, and ‘structure of opportunity’ are widely used concepts in the study of political elites, both in Northern America (Shlesinger 1966) and in Europe. However, the consolidation of a European multilevel system of governance has provided a new framework for the consideration of these phenomena. Indeed, European politicians have a priori an extended structure of opportunity today––given the existence of EU institutions and EU-related positions within national institutions––but their aspirations and vocation can be seriously constrained at the individual level by a number of variables, including their degree of familiarity with EU policy making and their socialization and competence to act within a multinational and multi-lingual environment.

Changes in elite profiles and orientations can be connected to the process of Europeanization, which has been defined as an ‘incremental process reorienting the direction and shape of politics to the degree that [European] political and economic dynamics become parts of the organizational logic of national politics and policy-making’ (Ladrech 1994: 69). Therefore, we have to test how ambitions, structures of opportunity, and the career paths of national politicians vary depending on their different perceptions of the relevance of EU supranational governance and on the role played by the EU in national politics.

In the case of economic elites, there has been a longer tradition of socialization into supranational organizations. However, if transnational business organizations have a clear role in European corporate governance, indications of economic leaders’ deeper personal involvement in the European scenario are not necessarily evident. A trend of an ‘inward-looking orientation’ among enterprises (and politicians) within the EU has been diagnosed (Haller 2008: 151), but we still have to discover the magnitude of such a phenomenon.

According to the literature, the process of Europeanization will have impacted on many elements and functions of political and institutional structures at the national level (see Graziano and Vink 2007 for an overview). However, little empirical research has been produced so far with which to analyse the consequences of these processes on the profiles and behaviours of national elites (Eymeri-Douzans and Georgakakis 2008). Some research in this area has shown that the Europeanization of careers seems to follow two structural patterns: the first is the process of career-building in European institutions; the second is the Europeanization of networks and the mobilization of the political resources utilized during the ‘traditional’ processes of selection and career-building within the national environment (Georgakakis and De Lassalle 2007a). It has therefore been suggested that the Europeanization of political elites is a process of selecting political actors who are Europeanized through their socialization (Georgakakis and De Lassalle 2007b: 65, 2007a; Poehls 2009) or internationalization (Wagner 1998).

(p.46) Following these arguments we suggest that the expectations of EU member countries’ national political elites are increasingly orienting themselves towards the European environment. This phenomenon can be measured in several ways and explained by a broad set of hypotheses. In this chapter we develop hypotheses concerning the impact of different indicators related to political and institutional attitudes towards the EU, as well as to the socio-structural characteristics of the elite on their inclination to seek an EU-related career. Since the IntUne elite questionnaire (see Chapter 11) provides an explicit question about the EU-related career perspective (‘Are you considering pursuing a political/professional career at the European level?’), we will use this question as the dependent variable in our study. Data from the first survey wave are used to measure the relevance of this dependent variable and to investigate possible explanations of supranational career orientations. Concerning the independent variables, we will refer mainly to the following three explanatory factors: (1) indicators about the different meanings of European identity; (2) indicators of elite orientations towards a broader future scope of governance; and (3) indicators of elite attitudes about an extended role for EU representative institutions. These indicators are analysed in the light of a wide range of political, social, and cultural structural variables.

3.2 Research Questions and Hypotheses

There is more than one reason to presume that the EU institutional setting and EU policy making are playing an increasing role in shaping the ambitions and structures of opportunity of European national elites. This is supported by recent literature that stresses the link between the transformation of European elites and the rise of some EU-related issues.

The first hints come from the analysis of representative roles in Europe. During the recent decades, the European political representatives have showed a significant transformation from the standardized profiles shaped by the mass (and then catch-all) parties of the twentieth century. New challenges have emerged, producing evident signs of unification and/or convergence among political elites in Europe (Best, Cotta, and Verzichelli 2006). More recently, the increased relevance of European-related issues in the patterns of national political careers has determined new opportunities of growth for aspirant ‘decision makers’. It would seem that the course of a political career has not greatly changed, with national offices still being clearly more important than positions at EU level. However, this does not exclude specific skills in EU-related issues being a crucial element for national political careers. Thus, the political investment in supranational issues and the growing familiarity with the multilevel governance can be an attractive perspective for a growing (p.47) number of national politicians. Indeed, studies on the career patterns of national politicians have stressed that some EU offices represent a stepping stone towards more attractive national positions (Verzichelli and Edinger 2005; Costa and Rozenberg 2008). Moreover, an alternation between national and supranational positions can be seen by career politicians as an opportunity to enlarge their individual competences and strengthen their political influence. This scenario is particularly compelling since it opens a new pattern of bi-directional career in the EU landscape, thus replicating a structure of opportunity that can be seen in some federal systems, such as Canada (Docherty 1996).

Studies on the transformation of EU politics lead to similar suggestions. As Simon Hix (2008a) argues, national political parties remain uncontested actors in the selection of the political elite, in an ‘upside-down polity’ where national offices are still preferable to their equivalent EU offices. However, the growing EU impact on a large set of policies, and the necessity of the major national parties to build coalitions at the supranational level, determine incentives for the (national) party elites to deal with EU policies and to shape their own preferences on these matters. This might determine a more intense socialization of party politicians to the supranational sphere. Those politicians who are able to increase their expertise in these fields can find very good pay-off at the national as well as at the supranational level––as showed for instance by the research on the crucial position of rapporteur within the European Parliament (Kaeding 2004).

Other pieces of research have shown that the process of Europeanization affects the sphere of (national) party organizations. In particular, as shown by Poguntke et al. (2005), the role of EU ‘specialists’ in party life has apparently been enhanced by the enlargement of the scope of EU governance. These authors suggest that the increase of informal influence of EU specialists within their own parties results in a change in their career patterns. However, investigations into this specific aspect are just beginning, and we do not have much evidence with which to confirm such an assertion. Nevertheless, we know that even the Eurosceptic parties can be affected by the Europeanization of political life (Gautier 2007).

A different sector of the literature on European integration reveals that policy makers––primarily political and economic elites––are increasingly oriented towards playing a part in Europe. According to many scholars, relevant fields of EU policy making converge in their dynamics, due to the predominance of new and flexible policy subsystems based on common attitudes and shared values (see Richardson 2006 for a review). In these processes, new ideas and new personalities emerge, through the encounter of very different experiences and prerogatives, which determine peculiar policy environments called by some authors epistemic communities (Verdun 1999) or advocacy coalitions (p.48) (Sabatier 1998). In such a permeable system of policy subsystems, national politicians need to add new knowledge and new linkages to their traditional roles of constituency and party servants. This is particularly applicable to the realm of national MPs, whose role is at the core of a totally renovated and rather innovative model of representative democracy (Crum and Fossum 2009).

In light of our findings from the literature, we can now set out our working hypotheses concerning the growing importance of the EU dimension in elite career trajectories in Europe, and the increased interest in EU-related issues by national elites. The aim of the empirical part of this chapter is (1) to determine the proportion of national elites who have the ambition to ‘run Europe’; and (2) to understand what factors are influencing the supranational career orientations of European national elites.

As a first working hypothesis, we assume that the original gap between economic elites already having a more supranational orientation and political elites predominantly oriented towards national constituencies and policy issues has been recently reduced. Although economic elites are involved in processes of supranational bargaining from early in their career, and national political elites remain typically anchored in the national political arena, we see a number of indicators showing an increased interest of political elites in the supranational dimension and in gaining cognitive control over EU issues.

In this line of reasoning, we would expect some empirical evidence showing that European governance represents a complementary, rather than an alternative goal for career politicians. In other words, the national politicians who deal with European affairs would still be a ‘minority of specialists’ in their respective party organizations. However, given the factors outlined earlier, we argue that the propensity of national representatives from EU member states to see themselves in a broader and supranational political context should somehow be significant today. In this way, the minority of EU specialists should have became more numerous and, above all, more politically relevant.

Different structural factors can be identified as influencing variation in the different degrees of elite socialization to Europe and their willingness to run Europe. The first one we turn to is differences in party attitudes towards the EU. However, since one reason for the growing attention to EU-related issues by national politicians can be linked to the different degrees of involvement of their own national parliament in European affairs, we can assume that purely country-related factors may also play a decisive role in this aspect of Europeanness.

In addition to our hypothesis on the increasing relevance of supranational political careers, we suggest that the increase is related to a generational divide: the new generation of politicians, which is less connected to old attitudes, is more cosmopolitan in their outlook and approach to extra-national experiences, (p.49) such as learning new languages, while seasoned politicians of the older generation may be less inclined to change their inward-looking attitudes.

The hypotheses discussed so far, which are based on structural explanations of variation in elites’ propensity to run Europe, could be refuted if our analyses showed that variation is due more to elites’ attitudes than to political or socio-demographic factors. We therefore formulate a further hypothesis stating that variance in elites’ propensity to run in Europe is a function of differences in their attitudes towards Europe. Here again, findings could point to totally different factors. For example, we could find that a propensity to ‘run Europe’ is correlated with a strong attachment to Europe and a desire for deeper EU integration. In this case we could argue that active participation in a European party federation or the strong feeling of supranational identity are the best predictors of national politicians’ future European career developments. On the other hand, we could find that a higher trust in EU institutions is associated with a desire to ‘run Europe’. This would suggest we consider an explanation linked to the personal characteristics of national MPs, who want to move where the institutions are more influential and where the structure of opportunity seems more suitable for their ambitions. We could also argue––adapting Max Weber––that the Europeanization of a career might be the result of a general process of professionalization of politics, whereby political actors live off and for European politics.

Finally, if we find that a propensity to run Europe is linked to a preference for deeper EU integration, it could be that elites’ existing levels of skills related to EU issues are the decisive variable. In other words, those who feel themselves to be ‘specialized’ in EU issues will work towards increasing the scope of EU governance in order to find a niche for their competences and reap the concomitant rewards.

With regard to the hypotheses we have outlined, we now take a first look at the IntUne dataset (see the Appendix for details) in order to refine and retest them before drawing our conclusions.

3.3 Measures of National Elites’ Europeanness

In this section we discuss the descriptive findings from our analysis concerning orientation towards a European career for both national political and economic elites. As can be seen in Table 3.1, economic elites are more inclined than their political counterparts to consider a career in Europe. This trend is reversed in only three national groups (Greece, Lithuania, and Slovakia) where politicians are more inclined than managers to consider a job at the European level. Overall, however, the number of politicians aiming at furthering their career in Europe remains lower, which is not unexpected given the propensity (p.50)

Table 3.1. Difference in the % of domestic elites who declare a wish for a European career

Political elite

Economic elite

Difference

Austria

6.6

61.8

−55.2

Czech Republic

6.5

41.5

−35.0

France

27.1

58.5

−31.4

Hungary

12.2

42.9

−30.7

Estonia

34.4

61.1

−26.7

Spain

20.2

43.4

−23.2

Germany

1.3

21.2

−19.9

Great Britain

26.0

45.0

−19.0

Denmark

10.0

28.2

−18.2

Belgium

20.5

34.1

−13.6

Serbia

60.0

72.7

−12.7

Bulgaria

30.1

37.5

−7.4

Portugal

45.5

52.5

−7.0

Italy

33.8

40.5

−6.7

Poland

39.4

43.6

−4.2

Greece

23.2

20.0

3.2

Lithuania

22.7

17.5

5.2

Slovakia

22.4

5.1

17.2

Total

22.1

38.6

−16.5

Table 3.2. Orientation to pursue a career at the European level. Cross-tabulation by groups of countries. Political and economic elites

Old core

Early enlargement

Late enlargement

CEE enlargement

Tot

Southern members

Yes

123

39

143

217

519

160

%

27.2

23.1

30.4

27.6

27.8

33.4

No

329

130

327

562

1348

319

%

72.8

76.9

69.6

72.4

72.2

66.9

N

452

169

470

776

1867

479

Note: these data report the distribution of the answers to the question: ‘Are you considering pursuing a political/professional career at the European level?’

for economic elites to act in a multinational environment and the more parochial, national orientation of most of politicians, especially parliamentary backbenchers.

There is also no significant relationship between orientation towards a European career and the geographical origins of the elites in our sample. In Table 3.2, we have four groups of countries: the old core of EU founder members; those joining the EU in the enlargement of the 1970s; those included from the enlargement of the 1980s and 1990s; and the most recent new members following the 2004 enlargement. This allows us to control the distribution of our dependent variable by the ‘duration of the membership’ but also by a geographical divide: the West/East cleavage.

(p.51) Table 3.2 shows the ‘duration of membership’ effect to be very limited. In particular, the expected higher enthusiasm of national politicians from the new member states for a career at the European level is not evident––except for Serbia that is, whose elites are extremely oriented towards a European career. However, Serbia is a deviant case in our data set, being the only non-EU member state included in the survey. This means that, since we cannot control the trend in other significant non-EU and/or applicant countries, we cannot use the Serbian interviews.

A correlation analysis reveals a limited number of variables to be significantly correlated to elites’ (both political and economic) aims for a future career in Europe (see Table 3.3). Although there is no clear polarization of coefficients around a specific set of variables, there seems to be a stronger correlation for some socio-structural and cultural indicators than for political and attitudinal ones. In particular, elites who speak a number of European languages have previous experience of living or studying abroad, want to be informed by international media, are younger, and are more likely to run for a European position. This confirms the plausibility of the cognitive dimension of Europeanness. Conversely, having a degree, being attached to the EU, and being oriented politically on a left–right scale are not very much correlated with an ambition to work at the EU level.

When we restrict the analysis to the sub-sample of political elites, there is little change. Most of the coefficients are slightly lower, but they show the same level of significance and they rank in the same order of relevance,

Table 3.3. Orientation to pursue a European career: correlation analysis

Political + economic elites

Only economic elite

Pearson correlation

Sig.

N

Pearson correlation

Sig.

N

Number of European languages spoken

0.169**

0.000

1867

0.176**

0.000

1285

Have you ever lived in another EU country?

0.200**

0.000

1865

0.171**

0.000

1224

Which has been the highest education degree received?

0.112**

0.000

1852

0.114**

0.000

1214

Have you had any study experience abroad?

0.156**

0.000

1815

0.140**

0.000

1181

Do you have close relatives or friends living in or coming from another EU country?

0.166**

0.000

1853

0.162**

0.000

1261

Attachment to the European Union

0.095**

0.000

1834

0.087**

0.000

1206

How often do you use media from other than your nation to inform yourself?

0.174**

0.000

1792

0.140**

0.000

1158

Left–right scale (0: right, 10: left)

0.063**

0.000

1773

0.063**

0.000

1283

Age

−0.178**

0.000

1818

−0.149**

0.000

1204

Notes:

** correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

The coefficients refer to the correlation between the variables listed in the table and the distribution of the answer to the question ‘Are you considering pursuing a (political/professional) career at the European level?’ (1: yes; 0: No).

(p.52)

Table 3.4. Propensity to an EU political career and experiences in EU-related issues

Experiences in EU- related offices

Propensity to EU-related career

Yes

No

N

Complete

8.4

1.5

27

Medium

28.9

16.9

170

No experience

62.6

82.5

714

N

190

721

911

Note: a medium experience occurs when an MP has experienced one of the two positions: a position in a European party federation, or a seat on a parliamentary committee on EU affairs. A complete experience is when the MP has both experiences.

whereby the above indicated socio-structural variables are more relevant than EU attachment or political affiliation. This is also confirmed by other descriptive cross-tabulations concerning only political elites, which we do not present here for reasons of space.

Another interesting aspect to be explored here is the relation between a supposed degree of ‘EU specialization’ and the propensity to follow a political career in Europe. Two variables from our data set can be used here: Table 3.4 presents a cross-tabulation between our dependent variable and an index of EU specialization, which was achieved by summing the results of two survey questions: (1) ‘Have you, or have you had, a position in a European Party federation?’; (2) ‘Have you sat, or are you currently sitting, on a parliamentary committee on EU affairs?’. As can be seen in Table 3.4, a relation is suggested between experience in EU affairs at the national level and interest in pursuing a career at EU level. However, the relation seems rather weak in the small group of national MPs (twenty-seven cases overall) whose EU experience is already ‘complete’ (having both partisan and parliamentary experiences in the field). Of these, only sixteen declare to be interested in a future commitment in Europe.

A second variable we correlated with the propensity to follow an EU career is that of an MP’s1 self-perceived ‘role’. In line with our expectations, those national politicians who reported being open to a European career are more likely to see themselves as ‘party representatives’ or ‘national representatives’, while those identifying with the role of ‘constituency servant’ or ‘advocate of specific interests’ are less inclined to a career at the EU level. However, differences between these categories are not great. The first two categories of MPs include 26.5 and 23.0 per cent of the political elite sample, respectively, while the other two categories have only 20.3 and 10.6 per cent, respectively.

(p.53) The descriptive analyses showed that identifying the variables influencing availability for a career at the EU level is rather difficult. The fact that an aspiration for a career at the EU level is only reported by a limited number of respondents raises the interesting question why, if the interest of national politicians for EU affairs is today relevant, so few politicians ready to specialize in this arena can be found in the current European parliamentary elite. We have also seen that an inclination to follow a career at the European level seems to be weakly correlated with social and political background variables and attitudinal orientations of the elite.

However, we can argue that the propensity to invest time in EU-related issues seems to grow, since the quota of respondents considering a career as MEP is about 20 per cent higher within the group of beginner MPs. In order to explore the possible explanations of such a (new?) attitude of national politicians, and to distinguish the factors that determine these specific aspects of elite Europeanness, we need to refine the frame of working hypotheses listed above, and explore the data in more depth.

3.4 Two Dimensions of Europeanness

On the basis of the descriptive analysis, we can confirm that the economic elites are still more oriented to ‘run Europe’ than the national political elites. However, it is interesting to note that the latter seem to be significantly interested in pursuing a supranational career. Therefore, the following part of the chapter will focus on an analysis of the politicians included in our data set (and using only those from EU countries, thereby excluding the Serbian political elites) utilizing multivariate and reduction data techniques (Biland, Eideliman, and Gojard 2008). In order to identify the main dimensions of political elites’ career patterns, we first undertook a Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). By means of a quantitative and qualitative approach, correspondence analysis provides a simplified representation of the space defined by these answers, which explores the contexts and conditions of MPs’ careers.

For the analysis, we used answers to ten questions from the IntUne questionnaire. These included three questions related to elites’ contacts with the EU and/or international institutions; four questions related to their socialization and social origins; and three about their former and current parliamentary positions. With regard to contacts, the participants were asked about the frequency (weekly, monthly, every three months, yearly, etc.) of their contact with EU institutions; the frequency of their contact with international institutions; and about their contact with European interest groups, NGOs, and parties. In relation to socialization and social origins, respondents were asked about the extent of their international experience (friends, studies, (p.54) stays abroad, and command of foreign languages); the frequency of their use of international media; their level of education; and their country of origin. Finally, they were asked about the number of parliamentary mandates they had received; whether they had held positions as back- or frontbenchers; and whether they had served on their national committee on EU affairs.

Using these ten independent variables, the first axis summarizes 7.05 per cent of the variance in the answers, the second 4.7 per cent, and the third 4.34 per cent. The variances of these axes built on the ‘career question’ are significant with regard to the forty‐five answer categories. Correspondence analysis allows for a substantive interpretation of these axes, as can be seen in the graphical solution (Figure 3.1, infra). The analysis helps us to understand the salience of the variables included here to represent contexts and conditions for MPs’ European career ambitions. In our interpretation, we will focus on the first and the third axes extracted in the correspondence analysis (Table 3.5) which depicts the Europeanization of social and institutional networks and media use, rather than on the second axis, which is mainly directed by country of origin and level of education.

A first relevant dimension emerging from the analysis is the distance between two poles made up of ‘cosmopolitan MPs’ and ‘parochial MPs’. Cosmopolitan MPs are in contact with non-EU and EU institutions every week,2 or at least, once a month, and have a score of 5–6 on the index of international socialization.3 They are more likely to be members of their parliamentary EU affairs committee, they tend to have contacts with European interest groups, European social movements, and parties from other EU countries, and they tend to use international media daily. They are tenured members of their Parliament (typically having held more than four mandates), and they are frontbenchers with a high level of education (PhD). They may, therefore, be defined as ‘cosmopolitan frontbenchers’, forming part of a national Europeanized political elite (Haller 2008: 79). Country of origin has less weight in defining this axis, although we see a correspondence with MPs coming from Austria, Denmark, and Great Britain, and (to a lesser extent) from Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, and Greece). The strong Europeanness of these MPs is defined by their involvement in transnational networks and by their having an internationalized lifestyle (Wagner 1998).

At the opposite pole we find parochial MPs. These do not show signs of international socialization (including mastering foreign languages), and have (p.55)

Table 3.5. Weights of each variable’s modality in the definition of the first and third factorial axes

Dimension 1

Dimension 3

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: every week

1.39544656

Frequencies of EU contacts: no contact last year

1.280777897

International media uses: never

−1.38855687

Accession date: second wave (1973)

1.021836024

Frequencies of their EU contacts: every week

1.25926847

Accession date: 1995

−0.907856384

Number of international socialization: 6

1.21615670

International media uses: never

0.859441615

Number of international socialization: 0

−1.10416017

Number of international socialization: 6

0.750532837

Frequencies of EU contacts: no contact last year

−1.04789307

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: every week

0.733339617

Frequencies of their non-EU contacts: no contact last year

−0.97682577

Accession date: Southern countries (1981–1986)

0.713847402

Number of international socialization: 5

0.90127004

Level of education: lower than secondary school

−0.694601958

European contacts: no contact at all

−0.89500975

European contacts: no contact at all

0.611074901

Member of the EU affair committee: yes

0.82341592

European contacts: 2 contacts

−0.606315524

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: once per month

0.81952077

Frequencies of EU contacts: once every three months

−0.604094592

Frequencies of EU contacts: once a year

−0.79913834

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: once every three months

−0.585153411

European contacts: 3

0.77650483

Tenure: fourth tenure

−0.563138424

International media uses: every day

0.75732119

Accession date: first Eastern enlargement (2004)

−0.531365909

Tenure: fifth tenure

0.73219738

Tenure: third tenure

−0.504909758

Number of international socialization: 1

−0.65863497

Frontbencher: yes

−0.477664287

Level of education: PhD

0.64629900

Elements of international socialization: 0

0.471212322

International media uses: from time to time

−0.53077970

Frequencies of their EU contacts: every week

0.458962554

Frequencies of their non-EU contacts: once a year

−0.51210174

Tenure: fifth tenure

−0.436281955

Frontbencher: yes

0.50875453

Level of education: university degree

0.435965232

European contacts: 1 contact

−0.48086657

Tenure: first tenure

0.411663095

Accession date: 1995

0.46917045

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: no contact last year

0.379954986

Frequencies of EU contacts: once per month

0.41086824

Elements of international socialization: 5

0.349227530

Tenure: first tenure

−0.40746312

Elements of international socialization: 2

−0.332310263

Elements of international socialization: 2

−0.38908083

European contacts: 3 contacts

0.318242612

Frontbencher: no

−0.34609467

Frequencies of EU contacts: once a year

0.305453387

Accession date: second wave (1973)

0.34449422

Elements of international socialization: 1

0.298015270

Tenure: fourth tenure

0.30148435

Level of education: master degree

−0.282956034

Number of international socialization: 4

0.29093300

Elements of international socialization: 3

−0.270055986

Member of the EU affair committee: no

−0.26049219

European contacts: 1 contact

−0.264672150

Frequencies of EU contacts: once every three months

−0.24176325

International media uses: from time to time

−0.244813153

Level of education: lower than secondary school

−0.23865229

Member of the EU affair committee: yes

−0.235507840

Level of education: secondary completed

−0.23416106

International media uses: every day

0.219026505

International media uses: once every week

0.17923617

Member of the EU affair committee: no

−0.193811179

Tenure: third tenure

0.16974565

Level of education: PhD

−0.192157915

Level of education: master degree

−0.16183656

Elements of international socialization: 4

0.189030640

Accession date: Southern countries (1981–1986)

0.15421265

Tenure: second tenure

−0.182233559

Accession date: first Eastern enlargement (2004)

−0.15395049

Frequencies of their non-EU contacts: once per month

0.137002587

Accession date: last Eastern enlargment (2007)

−0.13927822

Frontbencher: no

0.132794847

Accession date: first generation (1957)

−0.09964488

Frequencies of their EU contacts: once per month

−0.127210158

Tenure: second tenure

−0.08821328

Accession date: last Eastern enlargement (2007)

0.123305291

European contacts: 2 contacts

−0.05598452

Level of education: secondary completed

−0.079691620

Elements of international socialization: 3

0.04654582

Accession date: first generation (1957)

0.040766339

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: once every three months

0.02733633

Frequencies of non-EU contacts: once a year

0.028647817

Level of education: university degree

0.01831205

International media uses: once in the week

−0.009532188

(p.56) no contacts with European and international institutions, interest groups, social movements, or parties. They typically have only occasional contacts with the EU and non-EU institutions, and they are in touch with only one of the three European actors (interest groups, social movements, parties of other EU countries). Their level of international socialization is usually limited, as well as their use of international media. They are typically new to politics (often in their first term in parliament), are backbenchers, and are not usually members of the EU affairs committee. They have a lower level of education (only primary or secondary) and often come from the Central-Eastern European countries, although national origins contribute less to the definition of the parochial pole than to the cosmopolitan one of the first factorial axis. It is noticeable here that the old core of the member states (Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy) doesn’t contribute to this first axis. To understand the (p.57) Europeanization of experiences and careers of MPs from these countries, we have to look to other dimensions.

The third axis divides the sample between those who do not show particular familiarity with the European multilevel governance and those with a strong or weak Europeanization. On the one pole, we find MPs with some but little European network and career experience. They have contacts with at least two of the three European actors (interest groups, social movements, parties from other EU countries), have low levels of contact to EU and international institutions, and tend to use foreign media occasionally. They are typically frontbenchers, experienced members of their Parliament (three or more mandates). With regard to their country of origin, they tend to come from Austria or from the countries of the first wave of Eastern EU enlargement. We can say, therefore, that these MPs show a low level of Europeanization. On the opposite pole, we find MPs whose supranational experience and socialization are either strong or non-existent. For instance, a typical profile of these MPs is to have no contact with supranational institutions, no contact with European actors, and make no use of international media. At the same time, we find near the same pole a cluster of MPs that is defined by weekly contact with EU institutions, connections to all three European actors, and, to a lesser extent, daily use of international media. They are either close to the ‘cosmopolitan’ profile (scoring five or six elements of international socialization) or to the parochial profile (scoring zero or just one element). They are typically newcomers in parliament and come from different Western countries that joined the EEC in the first waves of enlargement (Denmark, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, and Greece).

The space created by these two axes reveals a map of MPs’ career Europeanization (Figure 3.1). In this map, we can see a clear differentiation in European career orientations (vertical axis) crossing the parochial vs. cosmopolitan dimension (horizontal axis).4 Underlying this configuration is also an East/West differentiation.

We may observe that the countries of the old core of European integration are scattered in all partitions of this map, while the subgroups of representatives of the different generations of latecomers can be distinguished. The multi-linear regressions of the countries on the axes (see Table 3.6) show that Belgian, French, and German MPs are close to the centre of the first axis with a large standard deviation. Other Western countries (with the exception (p.58)

Ready to run Europe? Perspectives of a supranational career among EU national elites

Figure 3.1. Countries’ projection on the factorial plan (axes 1 and 3)

of Austria) are clearly divided into two groups: those with strong cosmopolitan practices and socialization (top-right quadrant of Figure 3.1) are opposed to those with strong parochial patterns of career (top-left part of Figure 3.1). The Portuguese are at the Eurocentric side of the first axis and at the top of the third axis, whereas Spanish MPs are strongly parochial. CEE countries typically represent moderate Eurocentric positions: if MPs are mostly on the negative side of the axis (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland), they are close to the centre of the first axis with a large standard deviation. They have a realistic understanding of Europeanism, based on effective but weak practices: the position of Hungary, for example, is far from the centre of the second axis (−0.248) with a 0.025 standard deviation. Austria is a particularly interesting case, occupying the bottom-right quadrant of the map: MPs are divided into groups of strong and weak levels of Europeanization and cosmopolitanism. It seems from these findings that the Europeanization of national (p.59)

Table 3.6. Multiple linear regressions of the countries on the first and third factorial axesa

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Austria

0.235161

0.052472

4.482

8.05e−06

***

Belgium

−0.005884

0.052799

−0.111

0.911290

Bulgaria

−0.069810

0.051836

−1.347

0.178291

Czech Republic

−0.152255

0.052799

−2.884

0.003994

**

Denmark

0.226146

0.060967

3.709

0.000216

***

Estonia

−0.142095

0.055655

−2.553

0.010787

*

France

−0.111403

0.052472

−2.123

0.033931

*

Germany

0.035549

0.052799

0.673

0.500879

Great Britain

0.108498

0.066786

1.625

0.104494

Greece

0.040312

0.049779

0.810

0.418191

Hungary

−0.148139

0.052799

−2.806

0.005094

**

Italy

−0.114067

0.051526

−2.214

0.027016

*

Lithuania

0.252909

0.052799

4.790

1.86e−06

***

Poland

−0.344496

0.052799

−6.525

9.69e−11

***

Portugal

0.342111

0.052799

6.480

1.30e−10

***

Slovakia

0.064597

0.052799

1.223

0.221377

Spain

−0.112669

0.048708

−2.313

0.020868

*

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.4722 on 1318 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.1236, Adjusted R-squared: 0.1123; F-statistic: 10.93 on 17 and 1318 DF, p-value: 〈 2.2e−16

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.10718

−0.33026

−0.04094

0.30639

1.63415

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−0.86883

−0.20427

−0.02179

0.20609

1.17299

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Austria

−0.356841

0.024892

36.813

〈 2e−16

***

Belgium

0.155613

0.025047

−0.305

0.76048

Bulgaria

0.048466

0.024590

−26.377

〈 2e−16

***

Czech Republic

−0.227008

0.025047

−6.243

5.78e−10

***

Denmark

0.426795

0.028922

20.455

〈 2e−16

***

Estonia

0.003501

0.026402

−6.450

1.57e−10

***

France

0.056723

0.024892

0.972

0.33130

Germany

−0.168568

0.025047

1.666

0.09590

Great Britain

0.371458

0.031683

16.087

〈 2e−16

***s

Greece

0.226909

0.023615

2.657

0.00797

**

Hungary

−0.248613

0.025047

−8.027

2.19e−15

***

Italy

0.019637

0.024444

−4.875

1.22e−06

***

Lithuania

−0.353325

0.025047

−4.755

2.21e−06

***

Poland

−0.240762

0.025047

−8.373

〈 2e−16

***

Portugal

0.335816

0.025047

1.323

0.18596

Slovakia

−0.165707

0.025047

−11.338

〈 2e−16

***

Spain

0.284970

0.023107

2.547

0.01098

*

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.3095 on 1318 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.388, Adjusted R-squared: 0.3801; F-statistic: 49.15 on 17 and 1318 DF, p-value: 〈 2.2e-16l

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−0.86883

−0.20427

−0.02179

0.20609

1.17299

Note: a The estimate is the weight of each modality of the nationality variable on the axis. Pr(〉|t|) t measures the statistical significance of the correlation between each modality (nationality) and the factorial axis. It is all the more significant that it is close to zero.

(p.60) political elites has less to do with the structural consequences of the elite-driven process of European integration than with the domestic structure of opportunity of each national polity.

3.4.1 The Non-Relationship between Elites’ Europeanness and their Europeanization

In a next step, we have tested regressions of the distribution of the independent variables. This analysis confirmed that political and economic elites’ orientation to a European career does not necessarily overlap with Europhilia in general (Gaxie and Hubé, Chapter 6 in this volume), or with other aspects of Europeanness (Best, Chapter 10 in this volume).

With regard to political elites, in our findings, orientation towards a European career is weakly correlated with their sense of cosmopolitanism, but it is also located close to a critical mass of parochial MPs who concentrate on their national career. In general, however, we find that the correlation between European career orientations and the third axis is very weak: both answers (yes and no) are close to the centre (0.059 and −0.024) with a large standard deviation (0.024 and 0.013)—see Table 3.7. To shed more light on the relations between Europeanness and Europeanization in terms of experiences and socialization it is useful to look at the correlation of the career question with the second axis of the correspondence analysis solution. This allows us to understand the structure of opportunity implied by a national political career: whereas for the oldest MPs in Western countries, whose careers are almost entirely pursued at a national level, a European career option makes relatively little sense, for young and Eastern frontbenchers a European career is an attractive option.

We also tested the correlation between the career orientations of political elites and their Europeanness. For this analysis we used the same two dimensions identified by Gaxie and Hubé (Chapter 6, this volume) as scales of Europhilia (the first dimension) and as strength of Europhile attitudes (the second dimension). Again, we observe that there is no strong correlation between Europhilia and Europeanness.5 Europeanized MPs are in fact sharing Europhile opinions, but the correlation is weak. The only strong association is one between MPs with lukewarm Europeanness and those with mid-level European career orientations. On the other hand, those with strong Europeanized experiences and those with no European career orientation show the highest levels of Europeanness (Table 3.8).

(p.61)

Table 3.7. Multiple linear regressions of the wish to pursue a European career on the first and third axes

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Yes

0.18811

0.02978

6.316

3.75e−10

***

No

−0.05119

0.01587

−3.225

0.00129

**

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.4903 on 1223 degrees of freedom; (110 observations deleted due to missingness); : 0.Multiple R-squared0395, Adjusted R-squared: 0.03793; F-statistic: 25.15 on 2 and 1223 DF, p-value: 1.986e−11

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.29855

−0.36621

−0.02967

0.33230

1.37083

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Yes

0.05978

0.02407

2.484

0.0131

*

No

−0.02425

0.01283

−1.890

0.0590

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05 1; Residual standard error: 0.3962 on 1223 degrees of freedom; (110 observations deleted due to missingness); Multiple R-squared: 0.007901, Adjusted R-squared: 0.006279; F-statistic: 4.87 on 2 and 1223 DF, p-value: 0.007823

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−0.960449

−0.281800

−0.009638

0.264782

1.170424

As for party affiliations, MPs are also well scattered across this factorial plan. Only few parties, the Greens, the New Left (although less strongly), and the European Peoples’ Party strongly contribute to the cosmopolitan group, whereas the Conservatives and extreme right parties contribute to define the parochial pole. Other Christian Democrats, Right Liberals (although with less weight), Agrarians, and Ethnic Minority Parties form the core of the opposite pole. From these findings, we can assume that party ideologies do not provide any strong cognitive pattern of Europeanness pushing national political elites to ‘run Europe’.

We also observe that no other social background variables are correlated with the Europeanization of career orientation. Young and female MPs are mostly situated in the top-left quadrant of the factorial map (the strong parochial and non-Europeanized area) but the correlation is not significant. Their location on the map has probably more to do with their position as structural outsiders in the national political field, than with their Europeanization. Finally, it is not surprising to find a strong correlation between MPs speaking English and their positions in the top-right quadrant of the map.

3.4.2 Strongly Europeanized Elites are in the Minority

In order to complete the analysis of our map of MPs’ Europeanness, we conducted an ascendant hierarchical classification. The objective was to find (p.62)

Table 3.8. Multiple linear regressions of the scale of attitudes towards the European construction on the first factorial axis

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Attitude scale (axis1)

0.04225

0.02478

1.705

0.0885

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.5009 on 1334 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.002174, Adjusted R-squared: 0.001426; F-statistic: 2.906 on 1 and 1334 DF, p-value: 0.08848

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.33291

−0.36633

−0.03819

0.31861

1.49187

distinct clusters of European political representatives by applying an algorithm that minimizes intra-group and maximizes inter-group distances. The best optimization revealed eight clusters scattered across the factorial map, which could be further aggregated into three national elite groups. The first group comprised ‘Europeanized and cosmopolitan’ MPs, representing 25 per cent of all national MPs in our sample, with a core of only about 10 per cent being fully Europeanized. The second group represents one third of the sample (31 per cent) and is the ‘parochial family’. This group does not really show a significant degree of Europeanness and may therefore still be considered as that of nationally oriented politicians. Nevertheless, their attitudes towards Europe can differ. About 44 per cent of MPs fall in the third group, which consists of MPs who appear to be detached from European supranational networks and socialization agencies. Here we can distinguish two subgroups: Eastern Eurosceptics (25 per cent), and Western Europhiles (19 per cent).

3.4.3 The Europeanized and Cosmopolitan Family

The group of ‘Europeanized and cosmopolitan’ MPs can also be further divided into two subgroups. The first is the fully Europeanized minority (N = 95, 10 per cent) of MPs who are continuously in contact with EU and non-EU institutions, with social and political groups, and who use international media every day. They also have a high score of international socialization (between 5 and 6), are often tenured MPs (four or five terms), frontbenchers, members of the EU affair committee, and are highly educated (to PhD level). They tend to be Europhiles who are in favour of a broader delegation of power to EU institutions. These champions of Europeanness are a minority in our sample and are not characterized by social or national specificities, thus becoming more and more similar to the superelite of Eurocrats leading EU institutions (Georgakakis and de Lassalle 2007a and b; Poehls 2009) or to the international representatives of other supranational organizations (Wagner 1998).

(p.63) The second subgroup, representing about one in six MPs (N = 154, 16 per cent), has rather similar properties in comparison to the fully Europeanized subgroup, the main difference being the frequency of their contacts with EU and non-EU institutions. They also represent a lower level of tenure in parliament (three terms) and a lower score of international socialization (scores from 4 to 6). This subgroup comprises mainly Eastern Europeans (59.9 per cent of this class) and is not characterized by specific attitudes towards European integration, meaning that their Europeanization is only weakly linked to pro-European attitudes. These two subgroups are the only ones structured by the firm wish to pursue a career at the European level (37 per cent of MPs in the first group and 27 per cent in the second). As a result, we may say that Europeanness is only specific to a minority of national European politicians who have ambitions to ‘run Europe’.

3.4.4 The Parochial Family

About one third of the sample is located in the parochial quadrant and can be further divided into three subgroups. The first (N = 119, 12 per cent) represents the strictly parochial group, whose MPs have little or no contact with EU and non-EU institutions alike, or with European social or political actors. They are primarily first-term backbenchers, are not members of the EU affairs committee, use no international media, and cannot be characterized by any particular national origin. We can further distinguish two subgroups of Western MPs, representing 16 per cent (N = 155) and 3 per cent (N = 33) of the sample, respectively. Both groups are very similar, but with the first group showing more contacts with both European and non-European institutions, and some use (once a week) of international media. They are typically backbenchers, coming mainly from Greece, Spain, and Portugal, with limited parliamentary experience (two terms), with a moderate level of higher education (80 per cent have a university degree) and a mid-range level of international socialization (two elements). They come predominantly from mainstream parties, 36 per cent being Conservatives and 48 per cent Social-Democrats. In this subgroup we also see a disconnection between attitudinal Europeanness and structural Europeanization, in that the MPs in this group tend to express positive views towards European integration. They strongly agree that the powers of the European Parliament should be strengthened, approve of a common system of social security, and have a high level of trust in the European Commission (scores of 7 to 10 on the trust scale). In other words, in this group of Western backbenchers and members of governmental parties, the European level does not play any role in their career ambitions, even if they are in favour of a growing role of EU institutions. At the same time, we find a Eurosceptic subgroup (3 per cent) of MPs coming from countries at the old core of the (p.64) EU (mainly France; 48 per cent of the subgroup) and sharing negative views towards the European Commission (scores 0 to 4 on the trust scale). The most recurrent party families in this subgroup are Communists and Conservatives.

3.4.5 The Detached, Partially Europeanized Family

According to our map, the largest group is that comprising detached and partially Europeanized MPs, who represent about 44 per cent of the sample. Two main subgroups can be distinguished. The first (N = 246, 25 per cent) comprises MPs who tend to be moderately Europeanized and Eurosceptic Eastern frontbenchers with little contact with European actors and institutions (one contact every three months or once a year). They have no regular use of international media, show two elements of international socialization, and typically have a high level of education (i.e. a Masters degree). They are mainly under fifty years of age, newcomers to parliament, frontbenchers, and are not members of the EU affairs committees. The most represented party families are liberals and right-liberals, while the most represented countries are those of the first Eastern enlargement (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Lithuania), representing 95 per cent of the group. They also tend to express strong negative views towards European integration, favour a national army, are very attached to their country (85 per cent), and much less attached to the EU (16 per cent). We can say, therefore, that while these Eurosceptics agree to and actually act at the European level, the European political sphere does not feature in their future career plans. In this way, we can say that they are detached from the European level.

There is also a subgroup of Western Europhiles (N = 134, 13 per cent) who share the same indifference towards a European career. However, when we look at their other attitudes and at their respective parliamentary positions, they present the opposite image to that of the Eurosceptic group. Indeed, these MPs often have a low level of European experience (no more than one contact between one and three months), have occasional contacts with European social and political actors, and use international media from time to time. Overall, the low level of Europeanization of these MPs puts them at the bottom of the map. In terms of background, they are well educated, senior MPs, over fifty, backbenchers, and non-members of the EU affairs committee. They come mainly from the old-core countries (mostly from Germany, Italy, and France; 90 per cent of this subgroup). Contrary to the Eastern Eurosceptics, this subgroup shows support towards further European integration, is in favour of a unified tax system for Europe, and supports a common system of social security. They also report a high level of trust in the European Parliament (scores 7 to 10 on the trust scale). They form the core of those MPs for whom the European political sphere is not part of their immediate career (p.65) trajectory, and probably will not be in the future. Nevertheless, this does not mean that these MPs are not pro-European.

3.5 Conclusion

In this chapter, we have measured the extent of national elites’ orientation towards a European career and explored the possible factors explaining this orientation. The basic finding was that there are few politicians with such an orientation and they are less numerous than those who explicitly exclude the prospect of a European career. Although economic elites appear more familiar with working in a supranational environment, even in this case, most of them do not anticipate a European career trajectory. In the case of political elites, attention to EU issues in general does not mean they consider the European level as a structure of opportunity for their future careers.

These findings seem somewhat at odds with utilitarian theories of attitudes towards European integration (Binnema and Crum 2007; Dell’Olio 2005). Whereas mass surveys show that positive views of European integration are more likely the higher the levels of education, income, and social status, here we see that the Europeanization of careers has little to do with general attitudes towards European integration.

There is no straightforward explanation for differences in elites’ attitudes towards office seeking at the EU level, and as our analyses have shown, there are no clear direct relations between a given social or political background and an inclination for a European career. The situation seems to be in the making, and the few politicians who are interested to run Europe are probably moved by different motivations. At the same time, there are revealing findings showing that the process of Europeanization of political careers in Europe has to do with different dimensions, somehow comparable to the dimensions of Europeanness analysed by Best (Chapter 10, this volume): the cognitive dimension of Europeanness is present among those MPs who are typically more informed and capable to deal with European issues, although they remain representatives of a ‘national polity’. The emotive dimension seems to be more present in a very select cluster of MPs who aspire to play a role in Europe, simply because they feel and demonstrate their attachment to the EU. Finally, a greater political investment in EU-related issues, as well as the desire for an EU-related office in the future, can be interpreted for some groups of politicians as evidence of the perception of a wider structure of opportunity, where EU issues and offices can be considered in the future.

Country- and most likely party-specific factors are at work in determining this compound framework of skills, ambitions, and opportunities. These factors can enhance the Europeanization of political careers, but they may also be (p.66) (and more frequently) intervening factors showing the resistances and the distances between the EU polity and traditional national institutions. Of course, this crucial aspect deserves more specific attention, but in order to give fully fledged comparative explanations of the reason for the differentiated patterns of Europeanization of political careers, a coherent and consistent diachronic set of data is needed with which to control the trend country by country and party by party. This will form the next step in our research agenda.

Notes:

(1) The question at stake here is ‘Do you think of yourself primarily as…?’. Possible answers were: ‘Representative of your constituency’, ‘Representative of your party’, ‘Representative of a particular social group’, and ‘Representative of the citizens of your country as a whole’.

(2) Answers defining this first pole of the first axis are mentioned hereafter in decreasing order of their positive contribution to the first factorial axis. It means that the answers ‘contacts with non-EU actors: every week’ display the highest weight to the first axis on the ‘cosmopolitans’ side.

(3) This index, which goes from 0 to 6, was built by adding the values of four questions about international experiences: ‘Do you have friends living in other countries’ (if yes, 1), ‘Did you study or live abroad’ (for each question, if yes 1), and ‘Do you speak foreign languages’ (from 0 to 3).

(4) Old-core countries are distributed across all four segments. Those from the first Western and the South-Western enlargements (1973 to 1986) are found distributed almost exclusively across the upper two quadrants of the map, above the first solid line. Austria is primarily found within the broken circle in the bottom right quadrant. The 2004-enlargement’s Eastern countries are found clustered in the lower left quadrant towards the centre, but below the middle solid line. Romania and Bulgaria are thinly but evenly distributed across all four segments.

(5) The Gaxie and Hubé scales are here reversed: the first axis is going from the Euro-critics to Euro-supporters and from lukewarm to strong opinions. We do not present here all the tables for reasons of space.