What impact has covid-19 had on public support for the European Union?



An international research project on, involving Toni Rodon, a professor with the UPF Department of Political and Social Sciences, will analyse how the crisis caused by the pandemic has affected European solidarity, Eurosceptic attitudes and the electoral performance of parties opposed to the European project.

A research project involving five researchers from five countries, including Toni Rodon , a professor with the UPF Department of Political and Social Sciences and member of the Institutions and Political Actors research group and of the Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology ( RECSM ) are to carry out the project " The impact of COVID-19 on public support for the EU " (COVIDEU).

The research aims to provide recommendations to policymakers on how to maintain and increase this popular support for the European project

The aim of the research, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation , endowed with 1.5 million euros , is to analyse the effect of the covid-19 crisis on public support for the European Union, and from there, to provide recommendations to policymakers on how to maintain and increase this popular support for the European project, ensure the future viability of the EU and encourage cooperation between member states.

A multidisciplinary project spread over three parts, with a combination of innovative techniques

The project, under the call " Challenges and Potentials for Europe: The Greying Continent ", will be launched in 2022. It is set to run for four years and will include input from a multidisciplinary team of experts in the field of European studies. In addition to Toni Rodon, the other principal investigators are politologists Heike Kluever (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), Sara Hobolt (London School of Economics, UK) and Theresa Kuhn (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), together with the economist Michal Krawczyk (University of Warsaw, Poland).

From an innovative theoretical framework, combining observational and geocoded survey data with experiments, fieldwork and natural language processing technologies, the project is divided into six work packages distributed in three blocks , focusing on ideas of political behaviour, social psychology and political communication.

These three blocks will analyse the effects on support for the European Union (in the fields of European solidarity, Eurosceptic attitudes and parties’ electoral performance) resulting from the actions of three players: the political measures taken by national governments and European institutions; the behaviour of political parties and social movements, and finally, media framing and fake news.

Toni Rodon is to investigate the effect of policy measures taken by the EU

Toni Rodon will be coordinating the work package that will analyse the impact of policy measures taken by the European Union, namely, how the political measures taken by the governing bodies of the EU to tackle the coronavirus crisis have affected popular support for the European project.

"People tend to compare the role of the EU to the role of national governments and, as a result of this comparison, their attitudes towards the EU and their country’s government are likely to change", Toni Rodon asserts. This comparison can be triggered by issues such as the implementation of vaccination, or the role of EU economic policy instruments such as NextGenerationEU funds.

Three other work packages in which Toni Rodon will be involved will discuss how cross-border mobility has affected support for the EU during the covid-19 pandemic; how political communication by national governments has affected support for the EU, and finally, the challenging role of Eurosceptic parties in the exploitation of the pandemic to mobilize against the EU.


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