Measuring European Identity Among EU Member State Publics

30 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 4 Sep 2010

Date Written: 2010


Almost everyone agrees that a shared identity across the European Union a) is difficult to measure, b) is likely crucial to support for the EU and for new integration initiatives, and c) varies considerably in presence or strength across different EU member states. Identity, in other words, is both problematic and important. It is somewhat surprising, then, that there has been comparatively little systematic research into the components of European identity across the EU. This paper adds to the existing literature by investigating what features of the EU citizens are likely to have in mind when they say they feel “European”. Using Eurobarometer data from all 27 member states, I show that identity does indeed vary in strength across different member states. More importantly, however, I demonstrate both that the components of EU identity vary considerably from one member state to the next and that focusing on measures of these components can help us better understand the connection between European identity and support for the EU.

Keywords: European Union, public opinion, identity, framing, Eurobarometer

Suggested Citation

van der Veen, Maurits, Measuring European Identity Among EU Member State Publics (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Maurits Van der Veen (Contact Author)

College of William & Mary ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

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