Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 August 2019

Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations

Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations

Chapter:
(p.122) 6 Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations
Source:
The Europe of Elites
Author(s):

Daniel Gaxie

Nicolas Hubé

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602315.003.0006

Abstract and Keywords

As elites’ attitudes toward supranational institutions cannot be reduced to a simple binary opposition between pro- (federalists) and anti- (‘sovereigntists’) integrationists, this chapter tries to differentiate between and to consider all configurations of opinions, including a third group that sees integration as a means to preserve and restore national autonomy and independence. Overall, elite opinions show nuances of federalism and intergovernmentalism, and only a minority share a true federalist conception of European institutions. Likewise, not all eurosceptics are staunch defenders of national sovereignties, and those that are constitute a minority of national elites. Elites’ attitudes toward the EU are linked mainly to their national belonging. Often depicted as market and business oriented, the current construction of Europe seems also to be mainly supported by elites who share left and centre general political views. Each national collective experience is sifted through the ideological orientations of the national elites.

Keywords:   federalist, sovereignist, intergovernmentalist, confederalist, unionist, nationalist, national belonging, European institutions

6.1 Introduction: Diversity of Elites’ Positions on European Institutions

The respective powers of member states and European institutions have long been at stake in national and supranational debates among elites, where a cleavage between federalists and defenders of national sovereignties has been shown. From the very beginning of the process of European integration, Federalists have advocated the construction of a supranational state based upon a European defence community and a common foreign policy. Conversely, the ‘sovereigntists’ have relentlessly opposed European integration in the name of national sovereignty and the independence of the nation states, depicting European institutions as centralized, bureaucratic, undemocratic Leviathans, endangering national freedoms, cultures, and identities. However, besides proponents of a federal integration, there is a third group of defenders of intergovernmental methods of coordination (Bitsch, Loth, Barthel 2007), whereby European integration is conceived as a means to preserve and restore national autonomy and independence (Haller 2008: 80). In support of this, the European Council was established to guarantee that the heads of member states have the last say on the main EU decisions. Indeed, as the construction of a united Europe advances, this loose unionist model of Europe as a family of nations has been more or less accepted by many champions of national independence. Members of elites who participate in these debates are also divided over deeper European integration, with some supporting and others opposing EU intervention in various policy domains. (p.123) Some integrationists ask for the transfer of national competences to a supranational level and others to an intergovernmental European level. Therefore, controversies about European institutions cannot be reduced to a binary opposition between supporters and opponents of European integration. Indeed, we need to distinguish many shades of federalist, intergovernmentalist, confederalist, unionist, and nationalist attitudes.

Elites’ attitudes towards European institutions are also dependent on their views of the main aims of European integration. After the failure of the first attempts to establish a European defence community, the most eager partisans of European unification turned their thoughts to market integration. The radical left has therefore regarded the EU as a capitalist project endangering social protection and has long spoken for a ‘social Europe’. Social democrats have also wished to protect national welfare regimes and have proposed to coordinate fiscal policies and to extend EU competence in employment and social regulations (Hooghe and Marks 2008: 16). Nevertheless, some political and economic elites, especially those claiming high economic freedom, are cautious with regard to European institutions because of their regulatory functions. Green parties have come to consider European federal integration as part of their vision of a multicultural society (Hooghe and Marks 2008: 17). Cleavages over European institutions are thus intertwined with several ideological divides: deregulated market versus regulated capitalism, market liberalism versus social market capitalism or social regulations, and cultural liberalism versus conservative fondness for authority, tradition, and national identities and cultures.

6.2 Research Questions and Hypotheses from the Literature

Numerous hypotheses have been put forward to explain the diversity of views set out in the Introduction regarding European institutions. One stance adhered to by many scholars is that the European construction is an elite-driven process. We might therefore expect that most members of political and economic elites would share positive rather than negative views of European integration, but national political elites may be interested in safeguarding a national arena of decision making. Further, integration has been focused on the economy almost since the beginning, so that we might suppose the top economic elites would be eager to support stronger European institutions. However, some authors, such as Simon Hix (1999), contend that attitudes towards European integration are linked to the ‘location of social interest’ within social structures, especially, when it comes to business elites, to their economic sector. Following this view, we should observe variations of (p.124) attitudes among economic elites according to the type of economic activities of their company.

Other scholars argue that citizens do not assess the EU according to the personal or collective benefits they expect to receive from it, but that they rather rely on various representations, emotions, and values (Bélot 2002: 29). In this respect, most proponents of ‘value theories’ think first of territorial identities; certainly, a positive attachment to European integration has been found to intensify with an increased feeling of belonging to Europe (Dell’Olio 2005: 102). According to such a hypothesis, we could expect that political elites (MPs) and economic elites (business executives) who have studied and lived abroad, and who speak a foreign language, share a more cosmopolitan world view, thereby having a more positive conception of European construction than those with a more parochial experience.

Political and ideological explanations of attitudes towards European integration also refer to partisan membership. Europe is said to be the ‘touchstone of dissent’. Pro-European established centre-left and centre-right governing parties and governments presumably oppose more sceptical fringe or radical parties, factions, or politicians on European issues (Taggart 1998). This kind of explanation often mixes up two distinct hypotheses. The first is that attitudes towards European integration depend on the position of political actors in power relationships within the political system, political parties, or political hierarchies. Marginal political parties that are excluded from governing coalitions, as well as marginal factions and second-ranked politicians within governing parties, are more likely to share sceptical views of European integration (Sitter 2001). Within national parliaments, we may expect backbenchers to be more critical of the EU than frontbenchers. However, when scholars distinguish between radical and centrist political parties, they refer to a different hypothesis. Partisan ideologies are said to be the best explanatory factor and ‘extremist’ political parties, whether far-right or far-left, are expected to oppose more ‘moderate’ organizations. It is also sometimes assumed that European politics is linked to class cleavages (Deflem and Pampel 1996; Gabel 1998: 337): political parties linked to blue-collar workers should worry about, and hold the EU responsible for, economic woes, whereas parties close to business interests would support European integration. Other authors have stressed that left and centre-left political parties are eager to strengthen the regulatory powers of European institutions in order to fight unemployment, and to protect national welfare, the environment, and human and women’s rights (Hooghe and Marks 2008: 16). That is one of the reasons why the EU may be perceived by economic actors and liberal or conservative political parties as a bureaucratic meddler, imposing excessive, pernickety, and costly regulations on firms.

(p.125) Some scholars contend that country differences as regards popular support for European integration are a more important factor than individual economic or political concerns (Deflem and Pampel 1996: 136; Dell’Olio 2005: 96). Citizens––and first and foremost elites––of the various members states of the EU are supposed to have a distinct national experience of European integration (Diez Medrano 2003: 5; Harmsen 2007: 72). For example, it is said that from a German (both elite and mass) point of view, European construction means redemption from their past, an alternative to nationalism, a safeguard against latent hegemonic and anti-foreigner tendencies, a means to reassure the world about their peaceful intentions, and a guarantee for democracy and a social market economy (Marcussen et al. 1999; Diez Medrano 2003).

Some of these political culturalist explanations of attitudes towards European integration insist on the specificity of each member state’s perceptions in relation to its unique national history. Others look for a general model aimed at giving a systematic account of national attitudes towards Europe. Because they belong to a supranational institution, Roman Catholics are said to be more likely to support European construction (e.g. De Master and Le Roy). Another general model relies on the ‘goodness of fit’ hypothesis, which stresses the differential degrees of adaptation required of national institutions to fit in with emerging European norms (Harmsen 2007). The greater the costs imposed on its citizens by EU legislation, the more likely these citizens are to share negative opinions on the European integration (Hooghe and Marks 2004: 416). A related hypothesis is that nationals who are net recipients of EU spending will be inclined to support European integration, while those in donor countries will tend to oppose it (Hooghe and Marks 2004).

Relying on the 2007 IntUne elite survey, this chapter tests these rather conflicting hypotheses and aims to elucidate the main determinants of the elites’ positions in the debates about the European institutions within political and economic fields.

6.3 Measuring Elites’ Views on European Institutions

Our analyses are based on answers provided by participants in the IntUne survey (see Chapter 11, this volume) to twelve questions related to the institutional organization of the EU and therefore considered as indicators of elites’ views on issues raised by debates on European integration. Of the twelve questions, seven are indicators of attitudes towards the institutional setting of the EU. These are: (p.126)

  1. 1. How much do you agree (strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree) that the member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU?

  2. 2. How much do you agree that the European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU?

  3. 3. How much do you agree that the powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened?

  4. 4. How much do you trust the European Parliament to usually take the right decisions?

  5. 5. …and the European Council of Ministers?

  6. 6. …and the European Commission? Please indicate your views using a 10-point-scale where 0 means you do not trust the institution at all, and 10 means you have complete trust.

  7. 7. Are you very attached, somewhat attached, not very attached, or not at all attached to the EU?

Two questions are related to debates over the transfer of nation states’ powers to EU institutions. These are:

  1. 1. Thinking about the European Union over the next 10 years, can you tell me whether you are in favour of (strongly in favour, somewhat in favour, somewhat against, strongly against) a single foreign policy towards countries outside the EU, instead of national policies?

  2. 2. Some say that we should have a single European army. Others say every country should keep its national army. What is your opinion (National army, European army, mixed system)?

Three questions aim at measuring elites’ opinions on the missions and the future of European institutions. These are:

  1. 1. Thinking about the European Union over the next 10 years, can you tell me whether you are in favour or against a unified tax system for the European Union?

  2. 2. Can you tell me whether you are in favour or against a common system of social security?

  3. 3. Some say European unification has already gone too far. Others say it should be strengthened. What is your opinion? Please indicate your views using a 10-point-scale where ‘0’ means that European unification ‘has already gone too far’, and ‘10’ means that it ‘should be strengthened’.

There are numerous significant––although rather weak––correlations between answers to these twelve questions: the more respondents give a pro-European/ (p.127) anti-European answer to one of the twelve questions, the more likely they are to have analogous reactions to the others. Because of these correlations, we are tempted to focus on two opposite attitudes towards European integration. The first is characterized by a will to increase the powers of the European Commission and Parliament and to reduce the role of the member states; a positive attitude towards the strengthening of European unification, to a European army, to a common European foreign policy, to a unified European tax system, and to a common system of social security; and by a high level of trust in and attachment to European institutions. The second features a desire to maintain the member states as central actors of the EU and a rejection of any increase in the powers of European institutions; a refusal to strengthen European unification and to increase the competences of European institutions; a preference for a national army and nationally controlled social security, tax, and foreign policies; and a low level of trust in and attachment to European institutions. We are therefore considering all answers as analogous indicators, regardless of their very different frequencies. For example, 71 per cent of the respondents agree with strengthening the powers of the European Parliament, 51 per cent think that the Commission should become the government of the EU, and only 23 per cent disagree that the member states should remain key actors of the EU. The focus on correlations between answers may also lead to an excessive reduction in the complexity of elites’ attitudes towards European institutions.

Table 6.1 shows that those who agree that member states should retain control are typically less likely to support a common European foreign policy than those who disagree (86 and 95 per cent respectively). Whilst such a finding is not unexpected, it is more surprising to observe that most champions of the role of member states also support a common foreign policy, and that they form a larger share of the sample (66 per cent) than those with a more federalist approach (22 per cent). Regressions between answers to the selected questions shed light on minority opinions and leave more frequent positions in the dark. The stress on the opposition between pro-European (federalist) and anti-European (sovereigntist) positions hides the fact that a greater number of interviewees are in favour of a mixed or intergovernmental system, which cannot be taken into consideration if we concentrate on opposing trends. Table 6.1 also shows that those who agree to keep the member states as central actors are more likely to disagree that the Commission should become the government of the EU (56 per cent) than those who wish to diminish the power of the national states in the Union (26 per cent). However, 34 per cent of the respondents agree that the member states should remain key actors and that the Commission should become the government of the Union. Further, those who wish to keep national armies are less likely to agree with a common European foreign policy than advocates of a European army (77 versus 96 per cent), but those who support such a foreign European (p.128)

Table 6.1. Cross-tabulations of opinions on institutional issues

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the European Union

N = 1945

Agree

Disagree

Total

Are you in favour of or against a single EU foreign policy

Against

10.9%

1.2%

12.1%

(14.3%)

(5.0%)

In favour

65.6%

22.3%

87.9%

(85.7%)

(95.0%)

Total

76.5%

23.5%

100%

(100%)

(100%)

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the European Union

N = 1940

Agree

Disagree

Total

European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU

Disagree

42.6%

6.0%

48.7%

(55.7%)

(25.7%)

Agree

33.9%

17.5%

51.3%

(44.3%)

(74.3%)

Total

76.5%

23.5%

100%

(100%)

(100%)

Army

N = 1884

National army

Both

European

Total

Are you in favour of or against a single EU foreign policy

Against

6.5%

4.1%

1.2%

11.8%

(23.3%)

(9.8%)

(4.0%)

In favour

21.3%

37.4%

29.5%

88.2%

(76.7%)

(90.2%)

(96.0%)

Total

27.8%

41.5%

30.7%

100%

(100%)

(100%)

(100%)

policy are more numerous (21 per cent of the sample) than those who defend national armies and reject the idea of a European foreign policy (6.5 per cent of the sample). They thus express a position that cannot be assimilated either to a federalist or to a sovereigntist attitude.

6.3.1 Why a Multiple Correspondence Analysis?

Descriptive statistics show that elites’ attitudes towards institutions cannot be reduced to a simple binary opposition between pro- and anti-integrationists, so that we need a statistical methodology that makes it possible to differentiate between and take into account all configurations of opinions. We decided to conduct a Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA)1 of the sample of national MPs and economic elites interviewed in 2007, because it differentiates all kind of associations between modalities of active variables, without de facto ignoring those that run counter correlations between indicators. In our case it accounts for all combinations of answers to the questions, and thus helps to (p.129) identify the entire diverse range of elites’ convictions. It also distinguishes between weak and strong answers, such as ‘strongly agree’ and ‘somewhat agree’, and may take other answers, such as ‘no answer’, ‘don’t know’, or ‘refusals’ into consideration.

As already noted, through the IntUne survey, members of political and economic elites responded to twelve questions related to European institutions. We can say that all respondents are located by a definite set of answers in a twelve-dimensional space (more precisely, in a space defined by 54 modalities of answers to the twelve questions). A Multiple Correspondence Analysis provides a simplified representation of such a space by identifying the main oppositions on institutional issues. Of course, the greater the number of questions, the lower the percentage of inertia summed up by an MCA. With twelve questions, the first axis (first opposition) summarizes 7.88 per cent (44.59 per cent with Benzecri’s modified inertia rate––BMIR), the second, 6.98 per cent (31.5 per cent with BMIR), and the third, 4.91 per cent (10.04 per cent with BMIR) of the variance in the answers of elites. Considering the number of questions taken into account, these percentages are in fact highly significant. This MCA, and other statistical analyses described later, return nine main results.

6.3.2 First Finding: Two Main Dimensions of Elites’ European Attitudes

The position on and the contribution to the factorial axes of each type of answer show that the first axis is structured by a cleavage between advocates and opponents of European integration and supranational institutions (see Table 6.2.). On the far right (positive end) of the axis, we find political and economic leaders who strongly disapprove of (sometimes refusing to answer questions on) a single foreign policy;2 who strongly disagree with the idea that the powers of the European Parliament should be strengthened and that the European Commission should become the government of Europe3; who are also strongly against a common system of social security4 and a unified tax system; who think that European unification has gone too far (reporting 0–4 on the unification scale); who say they are not attached to the EU; who express low levels of trust in the European Parliament, the European Commission (some even refusing to answer the question), and the European Council of Ministers; who state that the member states should keep their national armies; (p.130)

Table 6.2. Weight and orientation of each variable’s modality on the first three factorial axes

Axis 1

Axis 2

Axis 3

A single foreign policy: strongly against

1.8945

Trust the European Commission: no asnwer

6.2322

A single foreign policy: strongly against

1.2713

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: disagree strongly

1.2625

Trust the European Parliament: no answer

5.6647

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: agree strongly

0.9026

A common system of social security: strongly against

1.2135

A common system of social security: no answer

4.8346

Scale of unification: no answer

0.8533

Scale of unification: 0–4

1.132

A single foreign policy: no answer

4.6601

A unified tax system: strongly in favour

0.8139

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: disagree strongly

1.0991

A unified tax system: no answer

4.5796

A unified tax system: somewhat against

−0.7764

A unified tax system for the EU: strongly against

1.0904

Trust the European Council of Ministers: no answer

4.0462

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: disagree somewhat

−0.7049

A single foreign policy: somewhat against

0.9777

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: no answer

2.7389

A common system of social security: strongly in favour

0.6757

Attachment to the EU: not attached

0.9615

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: no answer

2.5954

A single foreign policy: neither in favour nor against

−0.6517

Trust the European Commission: 0–4

0.9349

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: no answer

2.4356

Trust the European Council of Ministers: 0–4

0.6463

Trust the European Parliament: 0–4

0.9205

Attachment to the EU: no answer

2.3234

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: disagree

0.6383

Trust the European Council of Ministers: 0–4

0.7593

Scale of unification: no answer

1.4666

Scale of unification: 9–10

0.6154

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: agree strongly

−0.7556

Single European army or keep its own national army: no answer

1.2807

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: disagree somewhat

−0.6114

Trust the European Commission: no answer

0.738

A common system of social security: neither in favour nor against

0.5408

Trust the European Commission: 0–4

0.6035

Single European army or keep its own national army: national armies

0.7137

A unified tax system: neither in favour nor against

0.2124

A single foreign policy: somewhat in favour

−0.5773

Scale of unification: 9–10

−0.6951

A common system of social security: strongly against

−0.2117

A common system of social security: strongly against

0.55

A single foreign policy: neither in favour nor against

0.6451

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: disagree strongly

−0.2095

A common system of social security: somewhat against

−0.5177

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: no answer

0.6392

Scale of unification 0–4

−0.2093

A common system of social security: somewhat in favour

−0.5133

A unified tax system: strongly in favour

−0.6216

A single foreign policy: somewhat against

−0.2092

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: agree strongly

0.5081

Trust the European Commission: trust 7–10

−0.6075

A single foreign policy: neither in favour nor against

−0.2048

Scale of unification: 5–6

−0.5024

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: disagree

−0.576

A single foreign policy: strongly against

−0.2037

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: agree somewhat

−0.4702

Single European army or keep its own national army: European army

−0.5619

Attachment to the EU: not attached

−0.1912

Trust the European Parliament: 0–4

0.4386

Trust the European Parliament: trust: 7–10

−0.5472

A unified tax system: strongly against

−0.1858

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: disagree strongly

0.4385

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: no answer

0.5452

Trust the European Council of Ministers: 0–4

−0.1853

A unified tax system: somewhat in favour

−0.4299

A common system of social security: strongly in favour

−0.5245

Trust the European Commission: 0–4

−0.1847

Attachment to the EU: not attached

0.4025

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: agree strongly

−0.5079

Trust the European Parliament: 0–4

−0.1645

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: disagree strongly

0.3821

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: no answer

0.4948

A common system of social security: somewhat against

−0.1396

Single European army or keep its own national army: European army

0.3647

The European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU: agree somewhat

−0.4854

The member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU: agree strongly

−0.1118

Trust the European Commission: 5–6

−0.3356

Trust the European Council of Ministers: no answer

0.4854

The powers of the European Parliament ought to be strengthened: disagree somewhat

−0.1048

Trust the European Commission: no answer

−0.3328

(p.131) (p.132) and (although to a lesser extent) who strongly agree that the member states should remain the central actors of the EU. This group may be characterized as the staunch adversaries of European integration as it has been developed until now, or of its further advancement, and the kernel of the Eurosceptic camp.

Those who somewhat disagree with the strengthening of the powers of the European Parliament5, who locate themselves on intermediate levels (5–6) on the unification scale, who are somewhat against a common system of social security, and who somewhat disagree that the Commission ought to become the true government of the EU, also contribute to the definition of the ‘euro-critic’ half of the first factorial axis, but to a lesser degree, being closer to the centre of this axis. We will also see that those who accept limited advances in European integration through intergovernmental or unionist institutions are also closer to the axis’ centre.

At the opposite end of the axis (far left, negative end), interviewees agree strongly that the Commission ought to become the true government of the EU6 (Table 6.2). They think that European unification should be strengthened (positions 9–10 on the scale); are strongly in favour of a unified tax system and (to a lesser extent) of a common system of social security; and express a high level of trust (7–10) in the European Commission, the European Parliament, and (although less significantly) in the Council of Ministers. They disagree that the member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU, are in favour of a European army, and strongly agree that the powers of the European Parliament should be strengthened. At a less significant level, they are strongly in favour of a single foreign policy and are very attached to the EU. Such a set of answers clearly defines a pole of advocates of an increase in European integration through supranational institutions. Once again, respondents with more lukewarm but still positive opinions of the EU also contribute to the definition of this half of the first factorial axis, but to a lesser degree. In sum, this first axis may be considered a synthetic index of elites’ continuum of positions on European integration, from those with a general positive attitude towards the EU to its more resolute opponents, with all the nuances in between these two extremes.

The second axis is mostly defined by ‘non-answers’ to several questions (see Table 6.2), which, together with refusals or answers of a ‘neither, nor’ type, characterizes those located along the positive half of this second factorial axis. At this elite level, respondents do not refrain from answering because they do not know, but rather because they disagree with discussing European issues through the closed questions of the survey. Several interviewees asked if we were speaking of the ‘present’ European Commission when asked if they agree (p.133) that it ought to become the true government of the EU. Others replied that they do not understand expressions like states as central actors of the EU or the true government of the EU. Some economic elites said they had a private opinion but not in their role as a head of a company. When questioned about a unified tax system or a common system of social security, several interviewees criticized the words ‘unified’ and ‘common’ as totally unrealistic. Some added that it would have been better to ask opinions about a ‘harmonized’ system. A few respondents declared that they could not think of their attitude towards the European Commission or the European Parliament in terms of ‘trust’.

The majority of interviewees who agreed to answer the questionnaire are scattered along the opposite negative half of this second factorial axis. We are thus able to see that this second axis represents a second divide among interviewees opposing those who have apparently no opinion on several issues raised by the survey and respondents with the strongest and most resolute positions.

The third axis is structured by an opposition between respondents with strong coherent opinions and those with more lukewarm, conflicting positions (Table 6.2.). Interviewees who say they are strongly against a single foreign policy, as well as those who strongly agree that the European Commission ought to become the true government of the EU are likely to be located at the end of the positive half of this axis. Respondents who answer that they are strongly in favour of a unified tax system, or of a common system of social security, who strongly disagree with the opinion that the member states ought to remain the central actors of the UE, as well as those who display a low level (0–4) of trust in the European Council of Ministers or in the European Commission, or who are strongly against a common system of social security also contribute a great deal to the definition of this third axis.

Towards the opposite pole of this third factorial axis (negative half), we find respondents who express more lukewarm and conflicting views (Table 6.2). They say they are somewhat against a unified tax system; they somewhat disagree that the powers of the European Parliament should be strengthened, or that the Commission ought to become the true government of the EU; they are neither in favour nor against or somewhat in favour of a single foreign policy; they are somewhat in favour or somewhat against a common system of social security; they choose intermediate positions on the unification scale (5–6), and so on.

In so far as the second axis is less a dimension of elites’ European attitudes than an artificial consequence of the questionnaire, being considered as simplistic and inadequate by a fraction of the sample, a first finding of the MCA is that two main dimensions structure elites’ attitudes towards the EU. Due to the statistical logic of a MCA, the first axis equates with a synthetic index of elites’ orientations vis-à-vis European integration and (p.134) institutions based on the whole set of the twelve questions/indicators introduced in the MCA as active variables. Each position on this axis may be considered as a value of this first dependent variable, from the most pro-integration and federalist attitudes (negative values) on the left side to the most anti-integration and sovereigntist positions (positive values) on the right side. The third axis equates with a synthetic index of the strength and consistency of elites’ conceptions of European institutions, from the strongest and the most coherent views (negative values) on the top, to weaker and more conflicting positions on the bottom. The first and third axes define a factorial plan that gives a clear and simple representation of the distribution of attitudes of political and economic elites towards EU integration and institutions (see Figure 6.1).

Members of these European elites are not unexpectedly divided between supporters and adversaries of supranational institutions, but also between those with strong and lukewarm opinions. Strong champions of a strengthening of integration and of the powers of EU institutions are located in the top-left

Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations

Figure 6.1. Two main dimensions of elites’ European attitude

(p.135) region of the map7, whereas weaker or more irresolute advocates (who may also advocate intergovernmental forms of integration) are also situated in the left-hand region but in the bottom-left quadrant, and closer to the centre of the first axis.8 They contrast with EU critics who are found in the right-hand parts of the map, those with strong opinions in the top-right quadrant9, and those with more moderate views in the bottom-right quadrant, and closer to the centre of the first axis.

6.3.3 Second Finding: Multifaceted Issues of European Integration

The second finding of the MCA is that cleavages about EU institutions are intertwined with opposing views regarding their aims and missions. Those who support an increase in the powers of the European Commission and Parliament are also in favour of a single foreign policy, a unified tax system, a common system of social security, and a strengthening of European unification. Symmetrically, respondents who express negative views of European institutions also strongly oppose any advance in European integration.

6.3.4 Third Finding: Similar Distribution of Political and Economic Elites’ Attitudes

In order to identify the main determinants of elites’ views on institutions and integration, we have charted regressions and projections of independent variables (nationality, self-location on right–left scale, partisan affiliation, economic sector, religion, frontbencher/backbencher position, age, gender, education) on the first and the third factorial axes. These regressions add interesting findings. One is that, contrary to intuitive expectations, political and economic elites do not display different European attitudes. They are similarly scattered across the factorial plan and economic elites are not more pro-integrationist than political elites (see Tables 6.3 and 6.4). (p.136)

Table 6.3. Linear regressions of the elite type on the first factorial axis

Estimatea

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Political elite

0.002536

0.014888

0.170

0.865

Economic elite

−0.004907

0.020709

−0.237

0.813

Note: Residual standard error: 0.544 on 2023 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 4.21e-05; Adjusted R-squared: −0.0009465; F-statistic: 0.04259 on 2 and 2023 DF, p-value: 0.9583

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.02178

−0.40362

−0.08599

0.31964

1.89969

Note: a the ‘estimate’ is the average location of each modality on the axis; the Std. error, its standard deviation. Pr(〉|t|) t measures the statistical significance of each modality. It is all the more significant that it is close to zero.

Table 6.4. Linear regression of the elite type on the third factorial axis

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Political elite

0.01272

0.01174

1.084

0.279

Economic elite

−0.02462

0.01633

−1.508

0.132

*

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.0561

−0.3302

−0.0183

0.304

1.3207

Note: * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.4289 on 2023 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.001702; Adjusted R-squared: −0.0007147; F-statistic: 1.724 on 2 and 2023 DF, p-value: 0.1786.

6.3.5 Fourth Finding: Nationality as the Strongest Predictor of Elites’ European Attitudes

Regressions show a strong correlation––the strongest of all correlations––between attitudes and nationality (see Tables 6.5 and 6.6). On average, MPs and economic leaders coming from Western European countries are located in the left-hand quadrants, some in the top-left––resolute proponents of stronger integration and supranational institutions––(Greece, Italy, and Belgium), others in the bottom left (weaker advocates, such as Spain) (Figure 6.2). However, it is interesting to note that the overall positions of French, German, and Portuguese elites in the pro-integration half of the plan are not statistically significant, which means that they are divided. Such a result is at odds with the usual assertion of a German consensus on European integration. The main exceptions are members of the British political and economic elites who are located in the top-right quadrant (strong EU critics) and who are the main (p.137)

Table 6.5. Linear regressions of nationalities on the first factorial axis

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Austria

0.01622

0.04380

0.370

0.711212

Belgium

−0.25444

0.04236

−6.007

2.24e-09

***

Bulgaria

−0.04754

0.04169

−1.140

0.254276

Czech Republic

0.40924

0.04271

9.583

〈 2e-16

***

Denmark

0.23900

0.04717

5.067

4.42e-07

***

Estonia

0.16238

0.04457

3.643

0.000276

***

France

−0.05296

0.04236

−1.250

0.211384

Germany

−0.05602

0.04253

−1.317

0.187956

Great Britain

0.93583

0.05598

16.717

〈 2e-16

***

Greece

−0.30225

0.04202

−7.193

8.93e-13

***

Hungary

−0.18999

0.04271

−4.449

9.10e-06

***

Italy

−0.28212

0.04202

−6.714

2.46e-11

***

Lithuania

−0.03164

0.04306

−0.735

0.462609

Poland

0.19787

0.04271

4.633

3.83e-06

***

Portugal

−0.07228

0.04306

−1.679

0.093393

.

Slovakia

0.19759

0.04306

4.589

4.74e-06

***

Spain

−0.32092

0.03864

−8.305

〈 2e-16

***

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05 Residual standard error: 0.4717 on 2008 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.2537; Adjusted R-squared: 0.2474; F-statistic: 40.15 on 17 a 2008 DF, p-value: 〈2.2e-16.

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.11264

−0.31717

−0.05248

0.27627

2.19703

Table 6.6. Linear regressions of nationalities on the third factorial axis

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Austria

0.008950

0.037008

0.242

0.80892

Belgium

0.067250

0.035794

1.879

0.06041

.

Bulgaria

0.003015

0.035230

0.086

0.93180

Czech Republic

−0.102856

0.036086

−2.850

0.00441

**

Denmark

−0.021343

0.039858

−0.535

0.59239

Estonia

−0.316863

0.037663

−8.413

〈 2e-16

***

France

0.176178

0.035794

4.922

9.26e-07

***

Germany

−0.028972

0.035939

−0.806

0.42026

Great Britain

0.234226

0.047303

4.952

7.98e-07

***

Greece

0.177629

0.035509

5.002

6.15e-07

***

Hungary

0.010114

0.036086

0.280

0.77929

Italy

0.391021

0.035509

11.012

〈 2e-16

***

Lithuania

−0.214690

0.036386

−5.900

4.24e-09

***

Poland

−0.022454

0.036086

−0.622

0.53387

Portugal

−0.099450

0.036386

−2.733

0.00633

**

Slovakia

−0.113266

0.036386

−3.113

0.00188

**

Spain

−0.089667

0.032653

−2.746

0.00609

**

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.3986 on 2008 degrees of freedom; Multiple R-squared: 0.1442; Adjusted R-squared: 0.137; F-statistic: 19.91 on 17 and 2008 DF, p-value: 〈 2.2e-16.

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.079597

−0.302738

−0.002931

0.257276

1.280230

(p.138)
Elites’ views on European institutions: national experiences sifted through ideological orientations

Figure 6.2. National belonging, ideology, and European attitudes

occupiers of this quadrant. Danish MPs and economic leaders also lean towards the EU-opponent pole, but close to the centre of the third axis in the downward (moderate) direction.

Most political representatives and economic leaders of the Eastern European countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Estonia) lean towards the EU-critic pole at a significant level (Figure 6.2). With regard to the third axis, most interviewees of these countries (Estonia, Slovakia, and Czech Republic) express lukewarm or conflicting opinions. Members of the Hungarian elites are the main exception, because of their overall location in the EU-supporter half of the map, even if they are divided between strong and weak supporters. The locations of the Bulgarian and Lithuanian interviewees within the pro-EU half are not statistically significant. One important conclusion of these observations is that, when it comes to European integration and institutions, members of political and economic elites of a same country are closer to each other than members of the same type of elite across the EU.

6.3.6 Fifth Finding: A Right–Left Divide on the Future of the EU

The fifth finding of the MCA indicates that there is a close association between general ideological leanings and attitudes towards European integration and (p.139)

Table 6.7. Linear regressions of the self-location on the left–right scale on the first factorial axis

Coefficients:

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Far left [0:2]

−0.03433

0.03686

−0.931

0.3517

Left [3:4]

−0.15386

0.02511

−6.128

1.08e-09

***

Centre [5]

−0.06793

0.02851

−2.383

0.0173

*

Right [6:7]

0.04601

0.02235

2.059

0.0396

*

Far right [8:10]

0.18678

0.02826

6.609

5.02e-11

***

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.5303 on 1909 degrees of freedom (111 observations deleted due to missingness); Multiple R-squared: 0.04598; Adjusted R-squared: 0.04348; F-statistic: 18.4 on 5 and 1909 DF, p-value: 〈 2.2e-16.

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.09562

−0.37962

−0.08778

0.30642

1.96271

Table 6.8. Linear regressions of the self-location on the left–right scale on the second factorial axis

Coefficients:

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Far left [0:2]

0.07198

0.02976

2.418

0.0157

*

Left [3:4]

0.03797

0.02028

1.872

0.0613

.

Centre [5]

−0.00897

0.02302

−0.390

0.6969

Right [6:7]

−0.04777

0.01805

−2.647

0.0082

**

Far right [8:10]

−0.02884

0.02283

−1.264

0.2065

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.4282 on 1909 degrees of freedom (111 observations deleted due to missing data); Multiple R-squared: 0.009396; Adjusted R-squared: 0.006802; F-statistic: 3.622 on 5 and 1909 DF, p-value: 0.002901.

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.07417

−0.33286

−0.01396

0.29743

1.20998

institutions. If we take elites’ self-location on the left–right scale into account (Tables 6.7 and 6.8), we see that respondents who situate themselves on the left (scoring 3 or 4) are significantly more likely to be located in the left part of the map (supporters of further European integration and supranational institutions) (Figure 6.2). Interviewees who place themselves at the centre of the political scale are also situated in the pro-EU half of the first axis, although closer to its centre, which shows that they are more divided than their counterparts on the left. Even more surprisingly, those who situate themselves at the far-left end (0–2) of the political scale are located in the euro-supporter (p.140) camp, but at a non-significant level. By contrast, those who situate themselves on the right (scoring 6 or 7), or even more on the far right (scoring 8 to 10) are more likely to be in the EU-critic camp, although with mainly lukewarm and conflicting opinions for the former group (Figure 6.2). This means that we see a left–right political divide on European institutional issues that not only splits the political elite, but also, less expectedly, the economic elite. Contrary to some analysts (Szczerbiak and Taggart 2008), we find no evidence of a strong far-left EU scepticism, at least not at these parliamentary and business executive levels. Neither is there a linear relationship between self-location on the political scale and European attitudes, nor a moderate versus radical cleavage, but rather a left–right opposition on European integration and institutions. Such results mark a shift in the political bases of European integration since elites with left and centre-left leanings are more likely to back further advances in European integration and supranational organization than those with right and centre-right preferences.

Looking at national MPs affiliations, it is meaningful that the Christian Democrats, who had been the main advocates of the European construction for a long time, can no longer, on average, be considered as members of the supranationalist and pro-integration camp. They are even located in the right-hand euro-critic half of the space, although at a non-significant level. It is also surprising that the ‘Right Liberals’ are firmly settled in the anti-EU camp, and that the location of the ‘Liberals’ in the pro-integration part of the plan is not statistically significant. Whereas European integration is often depicted as an economic neo-liberal construction, the main advocates of economic liberalism are not likely supporters of European integration. When it comes to national MPs, the established–outsiders cleavage on European issues is intertwined with the radical–moderate, and the left–right divisions. Nevertheless, centre-left elites currently seem more anxious to push European integration forward and to strengthen EU institutions than their right and centre-right counterparts. At that moment in the history of Europe (2007), the Greens appear as the most resolute champions of a new advancement towards greater EU integration.

6.3.7 Sixth Finding: No Significant Sector Cleavages within Economic Elites

Contrary to some scholars’ hypotheses (e.g. Hix 1999), and to certain conventional wisdom, it seems that there are few relationships between the economic sector of business leaders and their views on European institutions. On average, agents of almost all economic sectors seem to be situated in the same pro-EU camp, but so close to the centre of the factorial axes that their situations cannot be considered as significant. We may only observe a counter-intuitive statistically significant location of heads of public utilities in the pro- (p.141) integration half of Figure 6.2 (−0.027). The main exception is the group of leaders from trade and service companies, who stand in the EU-critic half of the map, although, here again, at a non-significant level.

6.3.8 Seventh Finding: Few Other Determinants

Other relationships between attitudes towards European institutions and independent variables are weak. For instance, in most cases, correlations between the position on the first axis and religious affiliations are not significant. When they are, we may wonder if the religious affiliation is not an indicator of national belonging rather than an independent variable. For instance, the ‘other Christians’, who are firmly in euro-critic camp, are in many cases Anglicans and British citizens. Individual characteristics of the members of the elites are poorly associated with attitudes towards European integration. For example, there are no significant relationships with gender and, contrary to our hypothesis, there are no differences on average between back and frontbenchers in parliaments. However, MPs who are affiliated to governing parties are significantly positioned in the pro-European half of the first axis, and those who belong to opposition parties are located clearly in the opposite half.

As expected, the more elites say they have had a broad international experience, such as studying or living abroad, and having command of a foreign language, the more they are located in the pro-integration half of the first axis. The same is true for the number of contacts with European actors and institutions. However, in both cases the relationships are not statistically significant. There are also no clear-cut correlations between the level of education of the members of the elites and their attitude towards Europe.

6.3.9 Eighth Finding: National Belonging and Ideology Have an Independent Influence

The conclusion that national belongings and general ideological orientations are the main predictors of attitudes towards European integration raises new questions: do these two factors have an independent impact and which is the strongest? In fact, frequencies of ideological orientations vary according to the geographic origins of interviewees. Elites coming from Eastern Europe are more often self-located at the far right of the political scale than their Western counterparts (29.4 per cent compared with 10.3 per cent respectively), whereas proportionally more Western elites express left-wing political leanings than those in the East (28.1 and 16.7 per cent respectively).

In order to determine whether these two correlated variables have an independent effect, we created a new variable by cross-tabulating geographical origins––countries with a pro-integration tendency (overall placement on the (p.142) left part of the first axis, irrespective of significance),10 and those with a nationalistic tendency (located on the right anti-integration part)11––with the political leanings of their nationals. The regression of this new variable (see Table 6.9) on the first axis shows the strong effect of geographical origins. In each case, whatever their placements on the political scale, elites coming from countries with a strong pro-EU attitude are systematically located within the pro-integration half of the axis. Symmetrically, regardless of their ideological orientations, those coming from countries with prevailing negative perceptions of the EU are likely to stand on the anti-integration side. It is remarkable that all these results are statistically significant, with the sole exception of far-right elites coming from countries with an overall pro-EU inclination. However, political orientations still have an effect on elites’ European attitudes. The likelihood that interviewees coming from countries with a prevailing liking for European integration share such positive feelings increases when their political orientations move from the far-right, the right, the far-left, the centre, to the left of the political scale. The relationship is similar for interviewees who come from countries with a predominant collective scepticism about the EU, since their average position on the first axis is moving further towards euro-criticism if their political orientations move from the left to the centre, the right, and the far-right of the political scale.

Table 6.9. Linear regressions of countries and political self-positions on the first factorial axis

Estimate

Std. error

t value

Pr(〉|t|)

Sig. level

Pro-integration countries/Far left

−0.12053

0.04023

−2.996

0.00277

**

Pro-integration countries/Left

−0.28222

0.02826

−9.986

〈 2e-16

***

Pro-integration countries/Centre

−0.20286

0.03256

−6.230

5.74e-10

***

Pro-integration countries/Right

−0.12621

0.02692

−4.688

2.96e-06

***

Pro-integration countries/Far right

−0.05951

0.03896

−1.528

0.12680

Anti-integration countries/Far left

0.19251

0.06527

2.949

0.00322

**

Anti-integration countries/Left

0.12095

0.04135

2.925

0.00349

***

Anti-integration countries/Centre

0.19616

0.04556

4.306

1.75e-05

***

Anti-integration countries/Right

0.29905

0.03263

9.164

〈 2e-16

***

Anti-integration countries/Far right

0.39201

0.03556

11.023

〈 2e-16

***

Note: *** p 〈 0.001 ** p 〈 0.01 * p 〈 0.05; Residual standard error: 0.4928 on 1904 degrees of freedom (111 observations deleted due to missing data); Multiple R-squared: 0.1783; Adjusted R-squared: 0.174; F-statistic: 41.31 on 10 and 1904 DF, p-value: 〈 2.2e-16.

Residuals:

Min

1Q

Median

3Q

Max

−1.30086

−0.35848

−0.05297

0.29021

2.01531

(p.143) 6.3.10 Ninth Finding: Four Types of Attitudes towards European Institutions and Integration

In order to complete the depiction and explanation of elites’ European attitudes towards European integration and institutions, we have conducted an ascendant hierarchical classification (or a cluster analysis).12 This results in four main attitude groups. The first of these (N = 488, 24.10 per cent of the sample) is located in the top-left quadrant of the factorial plan and comprises the most integrationist and federalist segments of the European elites. These interviewees are strongly in favour of a unified tax system and of a common system of social security; choose the highest scores (9 or 10) on the unification scale; agree to increase the powers of the European Parliament; want the European Commission to become the government of the EU; and are strongly in favour of a common European foreign policy and a European army. They also disagree that the member states should remain central actors of the Union. From this we can see that they are very attached to the EU, but they are weakly characterized by their level of trust in its institutions. In accordance with the findings of the MCA, Westerners are over-represented in this group, especially Italians, Greeks, French, Belgians, Spaniards, members of Socialist, Social Democrat, and Green political parties in national parliaments, respondents who place themselves on the left (3–4) of the political scale, and also those with frequent contacts with EU institutions.

A second group comprises more tepid or less enthusiastic integrationists and federalists (N = 522, 25.78 per cent of the sample), with a small part of the group situated in the top-left quadrant, but close to the centre of the vertical axis, while the main part is scattered across the bottom left. Members of this group share many of the views of the first group, but they express weaker and sometimes different opinions on several issues. Contrary to the first group, they declare a high level of trust in the EU institutions, agree to strengthen their powers, and to reinforce European integration, although with minor restrictions. For instance, they declare that they somewhat agree that the European Commission should become the government of the EU, or that they are somewhat in favour of common social security or tax system. Likewise, they select upper intermediate positions (scores 7–8) on the unification scale. (p.144) At the same time, they express some intergovernmental preferences: they somewhat agree that the member states ought to remain the central actors of the EU and they believe in a mixed system of national and European armies. This group is weakly defined by the usual determinants of attitudes towards the EU: Lithuanians, members of liberal (but also socialist) parties in national parliaments, as well as frontbenchers and holders of university degrees are over-represented among its members.

Members of the third group (N = 483, 23.85 per cent) may be defined as moderate intergovernmental integrationists. They are somewhat in favour of a single European foreign policy and unified social security and tax systems, and they choose intermediate positions (5–6) on the unification scale. At the same time, they appear rather doubtful about the EU as a supranational polity. They express moderate levels of trust in its institutions (scores 5–6), to which they say they are only somewhat attached. They somewhat disagree that the Commission should become the government of the EU, and that the powers of the Parliament should be strengthened. By contrast, they agree that the member states ought to remain the central actors of the Union. Eastern Europeans, especially Estonians and Lithuanians, and members of the economic elite are over-represented in this group.

Opponents of the EU, European integration, and supranational organizations form the fourth group (N = 494, 24.34 per cent). They are mainly situated in the top-right quadrant of the factorial plan; they claim not to be attached to the EU and express low levels of trust (scores 0–4) in its institutions. They strongly disapprove of a common social security and a unified tax system, but only somewhat disapprove of a single foreign policy. They strongly disagree that the European Commission should become the government of the EU, and that the powers of the European Parliament should be strengthened. They strongly agree that member states should remain the central actors of the EU and are in favour of national armies. British, Czechs, and Danish elites, respondents who place themselves at the far right of the political scale, members of right liberal, far-right, and communist parties in national parliaments, are all over-represented in this group. Slovaks and Poles are also proportionally numerous in the group, but they are located closer to centre of the first axis and scattered across the top and bottom-right quadrants.

6.4 Conclusion

Multiple correspondence and cluster analyses confirm that elites’ views on European institutions cannot be reduced to a simple opposition between partisans and adversaries of European unification. Indeed, there are strong and weak advocates of and opponents to European integration. Among the (p.145) advocates, we observe nuances of federalism and intergovernmentalism, and only a minority of political and economic elites share a true federalist conception of European institutions. Likewise, not all Eurosceptics are staunch defenders of national sovereignties, and those that can be called true Eurosceptics only constitute a minority of national elites. Indeed, many Eurosceptics support a moderate strengthening of European integration, typically through a unionist or intergovernmental model of cooperation between member states.

European unification is undoubtedly an elite-driven process, but it does not entail that all members of the national elites are faithful advocates of supranational institutions. Indeed, around a quarter of the elites of the seventeen EU member states appear to be more or less critical of the process of European integration, at least as it has been developed until now, and another quarter express only lukewarm reluctant support. We may surmise that national MPs fear to lose some of their powers with an extension of the Union’s powers, but, contrary to general expectations, business elites are no more enthusiastic about the EU than their political counterparts. At the same time, most elites either support or are resigned to deeper integration, although for many of them integration needs to be decided and carried out through intergovernmental channels. Multiple Correspondence and cluster analyses also confirm that elites’ views of the European institutions are closely intertwined with notions of their main missions. Strong partisans and strong opponents of further European integration alike have the issues of a common foreign policy, a unified tax system, a common system of social security, and a European army in mind when they support or oppose an increase in the powers of European institutions.

When it comes to the determinants of attitudes, several findings need to be stressed. In particular, elites’ individual socio-demographic or religious characteristics, their ranking in the political hierarchies, their level of international experience, and their level of education have no––or only a weak––influence on their attitudes towards European institutions. Indeed, one of the main results of this analysis of the IntUne elite survey is that elites’ attitudes towards the EU are linked mainly to their national belonging. Beyond that, we found that both the political and economic elites of member states have distinct views of the EU institutions. We may thus infer that there is, in many cases, a collective national experience of European integration, more or less common to all elites of a given country, which contributes to the formation of attitudes of a more or less salient proportion of political and economic elites within each country towards Europe. There is, however, no simple explanation for the variation in their perceptions. It is not, for instance, a simple opposition between Western and Eastern Europe: Western elites are more likely to share positive attitudes towards deeper European integration, whereas Eastern elites (p.146) are more critical, but there are several exceptions. More research is needed to probe into national elites’ perceptions and the reasons and motives for their appraisals.

Attitudes towards European institutions are also strongly dependent on the ideological leanings of the elites. Oppositions on institutional issues are correlated with the left–right cleavage, but not in the usually expected direction. Whereas the current construction of Europe is often depicted as market- and business-oriented, according to our results, this seems to be mainly supported by elites who share far-left, left, centre-left, and centre general political views. Such a politicization of European attitudes could be expected from MPs, but it is once again surprising that the same pattern can also be observed within the economic elites. It appears as if each national collective experience is sifted through the ideological orientations of the national elites. We may thus wonder whether EU institutions are perceived as interventionist bodies in charge of economic and social regulations, rather than as advocates for a liberal free market.

Notes:

(1) The MCA and the Ascendant Hierarchical Classification (cluster) analyses have been carried out with the software program R 2.8.1.

(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 (Table 6.3.). This means that the answers ‘strongly against a single foreign policy’ display the highest level of contribution to the first axis on the ‘euro-critic’ side. This answer is abbreviated as ‘Stg against CFP’ in Figure 6.1.

(3) Abbreviated as ‘Stg disagr. ECom government’ in Figure 6.1.

(4) Abbreviated as ‘Stg against com. Syst of social secu’ in Figure 6.1.

(5) Abbreviated as ‘Swhat disagree strength Eparl Powers’ in Figure 6.1.

(6) Abbreviated as ‘Stg agree ECom government’ in Figure 6.1.

(7) They are for instance more likely to answer that they strongly agree that the European Commission ought to become the government of the EU (‘Stg agree ECom government’ in Figure 6.1) and that they are strongly in favour of a unified tax system (‘Stg favour uni. Tax syst’ in Figure 6.1).

(8) They are for instance more likely to say that they are somewhat in favour of a unified tax system (‘Swhat favour uni. Tax syst.’ in Figure 6.1) or that they are somewhat in favour of a common European foreign policy (‘Swhat favour CFP’ in Figure 6.1).

(9) They are for instance more likely to answer that they are strongly against a Common European foreign policy (‘Stg against CFP’ in Figure 6.1), and that they strongly disagree that the European Commission should become the true government of the EU (‘Stg disagr ECom government’ in Figure 6.1).

(10) Belgium, Bulgaria (ns), France (ns), Germany (ns), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania (ns), Portugal (ns), and Spain.

(11) Austria (ns), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Great Britain, Poland, and Slovakia.

(12) A cluster analysis defines ‘groups’ whose ‘members’ share the same positions on European issues. These ‘groups’ are set up through an algorithm that minimizes intra-group and maximizes inter-group distances. A definite association of a set of parameters taken into account by the analysis characterizes each group. Cluster analyses may thus provide information about the configurations of opinions on European institutions. As each group may be also defined by over-representations of modalities of the selected independent variables, the cluster analysis provides evidence about the main determinants of elites’ attitudes towards European integration and institutions. It also gives indications about the numerical weight of each ‘group’, and therefore about the frequency of each type of European attitude within elites.