02 Apr 2008

Is there a trade-off between deepening and widening?

What do Europeans think?

Antonia M. Ruiz-Jiménez / José I. Torreblanca

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EPIN Working Paper No. 17  / 35 pages

Using post-enlargement Eurobarometer data, this paper explores public support for deepening and widening across the EU. In particular, it tries to answer the following questions: 1) Do citizens perceive a trade-off between deepening and widening? 2) Is there a gap between elite discourses and citizen perceptions regarding deepening and widening? 3) What fears lay behind citizens’ preferences for deepening versus widening?
The first section looks at the historical trend in public support for enlargement and the second section looks at elite views and assessments of the 2004 enlargement and its consequences during the current constitutional crisis. Section three examines to what extent European citizens perceive a trade-off between deepening and widening and section four takes a closer look at the factors, mainly fears, behind negative attitudes for both integration and enlargement. The paper then explore whether, and how those fears affect the perception of a trade-off between the processes of deepening and widening, and to what extent these perceptions are similar among citizens and elites. The concluding section summarises the authors findings and discusses their policy implications.
Antonia M. Ruiz-Jiménez is Professor at Universidad Pablo Olavide, Sevilla and José I. Torreblanca is Professor at UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) and the European Council on Foreign Relations.