Images of Europeans: Transnational Trust and Support for European Integration
Prior research on citizen support for European integration does not consider the influence of individuals’ evaluations of European nationalities. The model developed in this article argues that individuals harbour images regarding other European nationalities. These images, which are tied to the economic development of the nationalities’ country, influence transnational trust (the general trust that individuals put in another nationality). Transnational trust explains support for integration, for it facilitates cooperation among diverse groups. As a result, the overall transnational trust is important in explaining support for integration. In addition, trust in nationalities from poorer countries has a stronger impact on support than trust in nationalities from wealthier countries. This is due to the fact that nationalities from poorer countries occupy lower social strata and that these strata evoke specific images. Controlling for various factors, regression analysis of the European Election Study (2004 and 2009) and the Eurobarometer 64.2 (2005) data supports these claims.