Political Allegiance and European Integration
Title: Political Allegiance and European Integration
Author: VAN KERSBERGEN, Kees
Citation: European Journal of Political Research, 2000, 37, 1, 1-17
Under what conditions and to what extent do national publics come to accept the increasing efforts of state elites to build new political institutions that transcend the constitutional frontiers of the nation-state and affect their interests beyond their direct control? This paper explores the role of national publics and social policy in the process of national and European integration. A theory of allegiance is proposed as particularly useful for analyzing this topic. Allegiance is defined as the willingness of a national public to approve of and to support the decisions made by a government, in return for a more or less immediate and straightforward reward or benefit. National publics accept the efforts of their national state elites to build new trans- or supranational political institutions on the condition that this guarantees or reinforces economic (e.g. employment) and social (e.g. income maintenance) security in the national context. European integration depends on a double allegiance, consisting of a primary allegiance to the nation-state and its political elite and a secondary or derived allegiance to the EC or EU. Secondary allegiance, however, exists only to the extent that European integration facilitates nation-states to provide the resources upon which primary allegiance hinges. The theory of double allegiance specifies theoretically the mechanism explaining the link between national economic and social conditions, and public support for the European Union.
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