Comparative European Politics

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 871–904 | Cite as

What to expect from European identity? Explaining support for solidarity in times of crisis

  • Soetkin Verhaegen
Original Article


Having a European identity is expected to influence citizens’ attitudes and behaviour towards the EU community. European identity is indeed positively related to support for EU integration, but are citizens with a stronger European identity also willing to pay a price for this identification, and to what extent? The contribution provides an answer to these questions by performing multilevel analyses on the EES 2014 data. The analyses show that citizens with a stronger European identity are more supportive of financial solidarity with member states in economic crisis. This explanation for support for solidarity is stronger than explanations provided by self-interest and economic ideological position. Citizens are thus willing to pay a price for their European identity. However, one can only expect so much from European identity as significant interaction effects show that the positive relationship between European identity and support for solidarity is mitigated by experiencing economic hardship.


European identity solidarity self-interest economic ideological position euro crisis 



I would like to thank the researchers of the European Election Study 2014 for the data gathering and for making the data available for use, two anonymous reviewers and Joost de Moor for their valuable comments and the KU Leuven Research Council and Riksbankens Jubileumfond for research funding.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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