French public opinion on the European Union's Eastern enlargement and public-elite relations

Oya Dursun-Ozkanca, Elizabethtown College


In France, people had serious reservations about the 2004 European Union (EU) enlargement. Despite the lack of enthusiasm and support toward enlargement, the French government officially endorsed this policy. This article examines whether the democratic deficit argument holds true in the French context, through analyses of both the French public opinion toward the Eastern enlargement of the EU, and the nature of the relationship between elites and the public opinion on the topic. Using the Flash Eurobarometer Survey 132.2, it first conducts a logistic regression to identify the determinants of the public support for EU enlargement in France. It then provides an in-depth qualitative analysis of the French public opinion-elite relationship. It concludes with a discussion of the overall lessons drawn on the democratic deficit debate. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.