A Community of Shared Values? Dimensions and Dynamics of Cultural Integration in the European Union
Whether the EU is a community of shared values is increasingly contested as evident in events like the Euro-, refugee-, and the rule of law crises. Using European Values Survey 1990-2017 data, we analyse the level and change in the public’s acceptance of the EU’s officially promoted values in seven domains: personal freedom, individual autonomy, social solidarity, ethnic tolerance, civic honesty, gender equality and liberal democracy. We find that member states support the EU-values strongly and increasingly over time. Member states are notably distinct culturally from Eastern European non-EU-nations, especially in individual freedoms and gender equality. Simultaneously, however, member states are internalizing the EU-values at different speeds—alongside traditional cultural fault lines that continue to differentiate Europe—in the following order from fastest to slowest internalization: (1) Protestant, (2) Catholic, (3) Ex-communist and lastly (4) Orthodox countries. In conclusion, the EU writ large evolves into a distinct value-sharing community at different speeds.
Plamen Akaliyski is a postdoctoral researcher at University Carlos III of Madrid.
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