The European Union appears to be at a major crossroads. Since the enlargement in 2004, we have seen failed referendums on deepening integration, Eurosceptic parties gaining ground throughout the EU, the rise of intolerance in many places, social unrest brought about by the Euro crisis and, most recently, a referendum in the United Kingdom on membership won by the 'leave' side. All of this indicates a relative lack of public support for the EU, and some scholars have argued that we are in fact witnessing a backlash against European integration. In order to understand the challenges that lie ahead, we need a better understanding of public attitudes in the region as a whole. Employing a new data set , covering more than 8000 respondents in eight countries, this paper will first of all map 'elites versus the people' attitudes in the region; popular attitudes towards elected politicians, the concept of democracy, constitutional arrangements, institutions and political processes. The mapping exercise will also cover items related to tolerance, attitudes towards multiculturalism and immigration - both within the EU and from beyond. In the following analytical section, an attempt will be made to establish the determinants of illiberal attitudes in Central and Eastern Europe. To put it in broader terms, have many post-communist citizens, after having "returned to Europe", more recently turned away from "Europe"?**The data were collected between August and October 2016. At the time of writing, no analysis of the data has been conducted.
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