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Emotional reactions to immigration and support for EU cooperation on immigration and terrorism

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Publication details

JournalJournal of European Public Policy
DateAccepted/In press - 19 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2020
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)795-813
Early online date1/07/19
Original languageEnglish


What explains variation in European citizens’ support for common EU immigration and counter-terrorism policies? We advance extant literature that focuses on the utility versus identity debate by focusing on individuals’ emotional reactions. Drawing on theories of affect, we show that citizens’ emotions about immigration are integral to their preferences for EU cooperation on the dual questions of immigration and terrorism. We hypothesise that while anger about immigration is associated with opposition to cooperation on both policies, fear about immigration is associated with support for a common EU counter-terrorism strategy. Using a large-N cross-sectional survey conducted in Germany and the Netherlands, our analyses confirm our hypotheses. Our findings have implications for the progress of European integration and the scope of public approval of EU common policies.

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Author(s).

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