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Do all Roads Lead to the Same Europe? Reconsidering the Pro/Anti-integration Yardstick to Measure Belgian Party Positions towards the EU

Clement Jadot

Mapping national political party attitudes towards the EU is crucial to explain the current state of the EU and is key to understanding coalition advocacy on European issues. Although important, the topic remains constrained in the literature by the idea that positions on European integration could be located along a single 'pro-/anti-' axis. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate why one-dimensional typologies lead to cumbersome and misleading evaluations of party positions. Based on Easton theory of political support, the research hypothesises that such classifications are unable to solve the problem of divergent orientations. I begin by showing how Easton's distinction between public policies, political regime and political community at the EU level highlights differences otherwise hidden. Taking Belgium as an example, I then explain why Belgian political parties - generally labelled as unanimously "pro-integration" - can be considered as divided regarding the EU. To conclude, I suggest an innovative typology that addresses what kind of Europe do parties want instead of measuring a certain degree of agreement with a given Europe. The research is primarily based on a qualitative analysis of party manifestos for EU and national elections, and interviews with party elite

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