Latest publications: In search for more ‘authentic’ EU attitudes by Michal Strnad

Michal Strnad (2023) In search for more ‘authentic’ EU attitudes: re-evaluating regionalist parties’ EU positioning from sub-state parliamentary debates, Territory, Politics, Governance, DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2023.2204910

This paper responds to the tendency of past scholarship to reduce European Union (EU) attitudes of regionalist parties to one general position. It undertakes a comprehensive analysis of regionalist parties’ EU attitudes from sub-state parliamentary debates. Drawing on three different cases from three territorial contexts – Plaid Cymru, Femu a Corsica and Süd-Tiroler Freiheit, it systematically captures the content and nature of regionalist parties’ EU positioning from EU-related interventions in regional parliaments over a recent five-year period (2016–21). The paper finds that regionalist parties simultaneously adopt a distinct position on multiple EU-related issues (with varying salience and clarity). Importantly, each party constructs its EU attitudes around diametrically different issues, closely intertwined with its regional empowerment strategy and reflecting the unique regional context. Moreover, each party displays contradictory tendencies in its EU support, adopting Europhile positions on some issues, while Eurosceptic on others. This contribution is significant in two ways. First, the thematic variability identified within and across the cases provides an original insight into the full scope and scale of regionalist parties’ engagement with the EU at a given moment. Second, this in-depth qualitative analysis based on novel data advances past methodologies while challenging their conclusiveness about the regionalist parties’ actual EU support.

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