James L. Newell

Meanings and Messages. Social Democrats and the EU’s Legitimation Crisis in the 2019 Election Campaign

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: European Integration; Social-Democratic Parties; Populism; Democratisation; Political Communication.

Our point of departure is the decline of the «permissive consensus» and growing polarisation on Europe evident in the outcome of the 2019 European parliament elections, and within social-democratic parties. Against this background, we first discuss the meaning of support for European integration – distinguishing «Europeanism» and «critical Europeanism» from «Euroscepticism». We then make a first attempt to map the terrain of critical Europeanist parties and organisations in the four largest EU member states and transnationally, before presenting a profile of DiEM25 as an ideal-typical critical Europeanist organisation at the pan-European level. The two following sections consider DiEM25’s message and how effectively it is communicating it. We conclude by suggesting a number of reasons for optimism concerning future public receptiveness to the message arguing that it offers social-democrats a new narrative and therefore possible way out of a long-standing electoral decline bound up with the declining hold of their more traditional narratives.

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