This article examines the trends and differences in predictors of public support for European Union (EU) fiscal solidarity using two individual surveys conducted in 2019 and 2020, before and during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, in six Western European countries. We focus on individual self-interest and European/national identification as the two major determinants of public preference formation. Empirical analyses show that, while the average level of public support for European fiscal solidarity did not change from 2019 to 2020, the negative associations between exclusive national identification and economic vulnerability, on the one hand, and EU fiscal solidarity on the other were weakened. Among both, the identitarian source retained substantive (although reduced) relevance in 2020, while utility did not. Country-level analyses reveal a more complex picture, but the overall pattern holds across the member states included in our sample. We argue that the reduced explanatory power of these typical heuristics that individuals use to shape their attitudes towards European solidarity is connected to the nature of the pandemic as an exogenous ‘common crisis’, affecting all member states in a supposedly symmetric manner, at least in the first phase, and inducing interdependencies among them.
To cite this article
Kyriazi, A., Pellegata, A. & Ronchi, S. Closer in hard times? The drivers of European solidarity in ‘normal’ and ‘crisis’ times. Comp Eur Polit (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-023-00332-w