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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Understanding the factors that shape public preferences towards the EU and the role of public opinion in the EU is of primary importance to the future of European integration. This article investigates both causes and effects of public opinion: what are the origins of public attitudes towards European integration? And, what are the effects of these attitudes on policy makers and policy making in the EU? An extensive literature has focused on the origins of attitudes towards European integration. The article first traces developments in public support over time, and then reviews this body of literature, focusing on utilitarian, cue-taking, and identity explanations of EU support. Thereafter, it discusses the constraining role of public opinion in European and national elections and referendums, and considers the implications for democracy in Europe.

Keywords: public preferences, public opinion, European integration, public support, elections, referendums, democracy

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