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Undermining, defusing or defending European integration? Assessing public communication of European executives in times of EU politicisation

Rauh, Christian; Bes, Bart Joachim LU and Schoonvelde, Martijn (2019) In European Journal of Political Research
Abstract

How do mainstream political executives cue their politicised constituencies on European integration? Moving beyond static expectations that EU politicisation induces executives to either undermine, defuse or defend integration, this article theorises executives’ incentives under different configurations of public and partisan Euroscepticism in their home countries. Expectations are tested on the sentiment and complexity that executives attach to European integration in almost 9,000 public speeches delivered throughout the Euro Crisis. It is found that national leaders faced with sceptical public opinion and low levels of partisan Euroscepticism rhetorically undermine integration, whereas European Commissioners faced with similar... (More)

How do mainstream political executives cue their politicised constituencies on European integration? Moving beyond static expectations that EU politicisation induces executives to either undermine, defuse or defend integration, this article theorises executives’ incentives under different configurations of public and partisan Euroscepticism in their home countries. Expectations are tested on the sentiment and complexity that executives attach to European integration in almost 9,000 public speeches delivered throughout the Euro Crisis. It is found that national leaders faced with sceptical public opinion and low levels of partisan Euroscepticism rhetorically undermine integration, whereas European Commissioners faced with similar conditions are prone to defend it. These responses intensify disproportionally with growing public Euroscepticism, but are moderated by Eurosceptic party strength in surprising ways. When such challenger parties come closer to absorbing the Eurosceptic potential in public opinion, executive communication turns more positive again but also involves less clear rhetorical signals. These findings move beyond existing uniform expectations on mainstream responses to Eurosceptic challenges and highlight the relevance of different domestic configurations of EU politicisation.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
elite communication, European integration, politicisation, sentiment analysis, text complexity
in
European Journal of Political Research
publisher
Kluwer
external identifiers
  • scopus:85068600329
ISSN
0304-4130
DOI
10.1111/1475-6765.12350
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9db3d195-8b06-4364-a108-87bd57c9bf94
date added to LUP
2019-07-19 13:41:47
date last changed
2019-08-14 04:42:07
@article{9db3d195-8b06-4364-a108-87bd57c9bf94,
  abstract     = {<p>How do mainstream political executives cue their politicised constituencies on European integration? Moving beyond static expectations that EU politicisation induces executives to either undermine, defuse or defend integration, this article theorises executives’ incentives under different configurations of public and partisan Euroscepticism in their home countries. Expectations are tested on the sentiment and complexity that executives attach to European integration in almost 9,000 public speeches delivered throughout the Euro Crisis. It is found that national leaders faced with sceptical public opinion and low levels of partisan Euroscepticism rhetorically undermine integration, whereas European Commissioners faced with similar conditions are prone to defend it. These responses intensify disproportionally with growing public Euroscepticism, but are moderated by Eurosceptic party strength in surprising ways. When such challenger parties come closer to absorbing the Eurosceptic potential in public opinion, executive communication turns more positive again but also involves less clear rhetorical signals. These findings move beyond existing uniform expectations on mainstream responses to Eurosceptic challenges and highlight the relevance of different domestic configurations of EU politicisation.</p>},
  author       = {Rauh, Christian and Bes, Bart Joachim and Schoonvelde, Martijn},
  issn         = {0304-4130},
  keyword      = {elite communication,European integration,politicisation,sentiment analysis,text complexity},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  publisher    = {Kluwer},
  series       = {European Journal of Political Research},
  title        = {Undermining, defusing or defending European integration? Assessing public communication of European executives in times of EU politicisation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12350},
  year         = {2019},
}