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Braun, Daniela; Hutter, Swen and Kerscher, Alena (2016): What type of Europe? The salience of polity and policy issues in European Parliament elections. In: European Union Politics, Vol. 17, No. 4: pp. 570-592 [PDF, 313kB]


How much and why do political parties emphasize Europe in election campaigns? The literature is increasingly focusing on two aspects of party issue competition: position and salience. However, recent studies on salience tend to ignore the fact that Europe is a compound political issue. This article contributes to the debate by highlighting the crucial difference between constitutive and policy-related European issues. Using data from the Euromanifestos Project for 14 EU member states for the period 1979–2009, we first show that Europe is much more salient in European Parliament elections than previously assumed. Second, EU issue salience depends on party position and party system polarization over European integration. However, different explanations come into play once we bring in the polity-vs.-policy distinction. This has important implications for our understanding of party competition on European integration.

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