How have European national party systems responded to the Eurozone crisis? A comparison between Germany, the UK, Ireland, and Greece

Kiapidou, Nikoleta (2017) How have European national party systems responded to the Eurozone crisis? A comparison between Germany, the UK, Ireland, and Greece. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

European national party systems have reflected in different ways the major influence of the Eurozone crisis on individual countries. The focus of my project concerns this exact diversity and the main research question is formed as follows: How have European national party systems responded to the Eurozone crisis? In particular, I looked at the degree of party system fragmentation and polarisation, the degree of salience of the EU issue, and government composition in four European countries: Germany, the UK, Ireland, and Greece, during the years 2008-early 2016. Although the main causal condition of the project is the Eurozone crisis (economic conditions), several cross-case and country-specific intervening factors were examined in order to identify possible reasons behind the responses of national party systems to the crisis. Data were gathered through expert surveys and interviews with experts and political actors.

The results showed the new era of the national party systems in Europe, which started in 2008 and transformed massively national politics by revealing the power of combined long-term trends and a sudden turmoil. The changes were of different degrees at the various systems depending on their structural characteristics. Old and new minor parties gained ground in all the four cases by promoting their anti-mainstream profile and by activating a pro-/anti-establishment divide. The results revealed some intriguing patterns in the party system response, among mostly diverse cases and confirmed how domestic conditions and issues had the lead over international events, even if the latter are as significant as the Eurozone crisis. The Eurozone crisis played a massive role in party system structures. Although that was the case mainly with the countries with poor economic performance during the recession years, the crisis had a significant impact on the way parties related and competed in all of the cases, as it exposed underlying transformations and simmering issues in the national party systems. This showed that we need to link short- and long-term transitions with national political structures and international events in order to understand party system change. An underlying establishment/anti-establishment cleavage, which found a channel of expression during the crisis, cut across traditional lines of competition and appeared likely to determine future developments in the national party systems. Finally, the EU issue was operationalised in different ways in each system and by each party, but in any case it needed to be highlighted through the discussions over salient domestic issues.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN0030 European Union. European Community. European communities
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 08:49
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2018 08:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70482

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