Continuity and change in national parties' strategies of adaptation to European integration


How have national parties adapted their strategies of competition and behaviour to use, handle, and manage the European issue in domestic political competition? This article outlines the principal elements of continuity and change in the ways national party organisations have strategically adapted to the increasing significance of European integration in West European party systems over the last twenty years. It contests the arguments of a gradual europeanisation and rising progress of euroscepticism. It shows that the likelihood of politicisation over European matters occurring has been very dependent on the arena and the context considered. Few changes have occurred regarding the consensual and relatively positive treatment of the European Union (EU) in national newspapers, the very limited saliency of EU-related debates in national electoral campaigns and the tendency of mainstream parties to converge rather than diverge on the ways they frame the EU. Conflicts over EU matters are not typical, nor are they inherently on the increase: they remain the exception rather than the rule.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v2n2p67

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