The book explores the views of elites alongside those of the wider population in the European Union. The chapters place the new member states - and the potential candidate Serbia - on the map of Europe in this context for the first time. The volume's comparative method goes beyond the standard old member states versus new member states divide. It assesses regional differences within Central Europe and evaluates the problem of European and national identity formation, perception of external threats to the EU (including Russia), differences between economic and political elite views about the integration process and the connection between national performance and public opinion about Europe. Even though, in each country, positive views are dominant about the integration process, heterogeneous views prevail behind the image of a unifying Europe.
The book's major contribution is that it makes the new member states more visible and provides hard evidence while remaining theoretically driven. Furthermore, it covers the most important topics that emerge in studies concerning European integration. The book is intended for those interested in European integration in general but Central and Eastern European comparativists will find it particularly useful.
This book was published as a special issue of Europe-Asia Studies.
Gabriella Ilonszki is Professor of Political Science and Head of the Centre for Elite Studies at Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary.