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Public Support for Enlargement: Economic, Cultural, or Normative?

Discussion Papers


May 2007


The current research questioned whether public opinion on enlargement can be adequately explained only by economic calculation and cultural/community identity. When the analytical viewpoint was expanded from the conventional individual level to state level, it was revealed that constructivist considerations—such as the democratization and reunification of Europe—play a critical role in pushing forward enlargement. Drawing on the perspective of international relations, this study introduced a synthetic model to analyze public opinion on enlargement in the EU’s 15 old member states. The analysis using a Eurobarometer dataset showed that on public support for enlargement, constructivist attitudes held as much sway as cultural/community attitudes. In fact, expectations of democratization were the most important determinant of support for enlargement in the case of Turkey.

Keywords: EU, enlargement, public opinion, Turkey

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