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Who is afraid of emergency politics? Public opinion on European crisis management during Covid-19

Ganderson, Joseph, Schelkle, Waltraud ORCID: 0000-0003-4127-107X and Truchlewski, Zbigniew ORCID: 0000-0003-3594-4290 (2023) Who is afraid of emergency politics? Public opinion on European crisis management during Covid-19. Comparative European Politics, 21 (4). pp. 470-490. ISSN 1472-4790

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Identification Number: 10.1057/s41295-023-00329-5


After a decade of crisis management, the democratic implications of emergency modes of governance in the European Union (EU) are under the spotlight. The prevailing analysis is critical. Scholars point to an emergent, distinctly European trend of transnational crisis exploitation where elite appeals to exceptional pressures serve asymmetric power and influence, overriding democratic norms and potentially fuelling Eurosceptic backlash. However, the literature does not ask whether citizens consider themselves disempowered by the EU’s emergency politics, with its alleged emphasis on urgency and technocratic problem-solving. The relative symmetry and simultaneity of the Covid-19 crisis across Europe offers an opportunity for an empirical examination of public opinion on traits of emergency politics. We juxtapose the implications of emergency politics for public opinion with the transnational cleavages literature and use survey data from 15 member states on EU- and national-level pandemic responses to examine the competing hypotheses. Our findings indicate perceptions of crisis management are largely determined by prior views on EU integration and democracy. More generally, the results suggest that the transnational cleavage remains overall a key driver and delimiter of Euroscepticism in crisis times. Though there is some variance between emergency politics dimensions, we do not detect a widespread perception of disillusionment motivated by EU emergency rule.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2023 16:18
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2023 07:51

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