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An End to European Integration?*

  • Ronald Inglehart (a1)

“European Integration has slowed down since the mid-50's, and has stopped or reached a plateau since 1957–58.” This is Karl Deutsch's first major conclusion in a recent summary report of findings from a study which he and a number of colleagues have been executing over the past few years. The study appears to be one of the most ambitious and interesting political research projects undertaken in recent years; its findings should be widely useful. In reaching this conclusion, Deutsch's interpretation is not merely that integration has stopped in the relatively narrow realm of formal government decisions; on the contrary, he contends that the process has come to a halt in the “European political environment” as a whole.

Deutsch bases his case on an analysis of trade flows and other transactions, content analysis of the elite press, public opinion surveys and elite interviews. An examination of much the same data, in connection with a study of political socialization in Western Europe, has led me to a radically different conclusion. Far from finding a stagnation of integrative processes since 1958, I would argue that, in some respects, European integration may have moved into full gear only since 1958. In this article I will first present some new evidence concerning attitudes among the younger generation in The Netherlands, France, West Germany and Great Britain; I will then review Deutsch's findings in this context.

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I wish to thank Samuel Barnes, M. Kent Jennings, Warren Miller and David Segal for their valuable criticisms of an earlier draft of this article. I am also grateful to Karl Deutsch for generously giving access to research reports from his study. The interpretations reached here are, of course, my own.

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1 “Integration and Arms Control in the European Political Environment,” this Review, 60 (1966), p. 355. Deutsch's collaborators are listed in a footnote on p. 354. The same footnote indicates that fuller versions of the findings will be published in two forthcoming books.

2 Deutsch does not seem to be alone in taking this general view. Sen. Church Frank suggests that “European sentiment may have shifted toward a different arrangement, that what might have been achieved in the vision of such men as Jean Monnet when Europe lay prostrate after the war may no longer represent a practical possibility,” see “U.S. Policy and the New Europe,” Foreign Affairs, 45 (1966), p. 52.

3 The data collection was supported by a Fulbright grant, with additional aid from the Dutch Ministry of Education. The analysis has been supported by a National Science Foundation Cooperative Fellowship.

4 Total numbers of questionnaires obtained are as follows: France: 700; The Netherlands: 3,100; West Germany: 700; England: 500. Each social type is not included in proportion to its occurance in the overall population. In order to correct for this fact, I will base my comparisons on samples which are weighted to compensate for the relative shortage of working-class students. I weighted our SES groups according to the proportions of manual to non-manual occupations indicated in the adult surveys (approx. 2:1). My estimates, therefore, can only be regarded as a spot check on the overall distribution of attitudes. I resorted to this approach because funds did not permit obtaining a probability sample, and no alternative data were available. In a more extensive analysis, I examine other factors which seem to influence support for European integration, and attempt to control for them also. See Inglehart Ronald, The Socialization of “Europeans” (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1967).

5 In the three most recent surveys in which this question was asked of British adults (1955, 56, and 57) the percentage favorable ranged from 64% to 66%.

6 Normalized according to the Effectiveness Index described by Hovland Carl al.A Baseline for Measurement of Percentage Change” in Lazarsfeld Paul F. and Rosenberg Morris, The Language of Social Research (Glencoe, 1955), pp. 7782.

7 Does this imply that youth is more cosmopolitan than adults as a general rule? Not necessarily. The example of the Hitler youth might be cited as an indication that the reverse relationship is also possible. My interpretation is simply that, because of the specific influences present in their early socialization, this particular crop of youth has been oriented in a more European and less nationalistic direction than preceding age cohorts.

8 See, for example, Piaget Jean, “Le développement chez l'enfant de l'idée de patrie et de relations avec l'étranger,” Bulletin Internationale de Science Sociale, UNESCO, 1961, pp. 3, 605, 621. Piaget concludes that the concept of nationality is fully developed by age 14. Cf. Hess Robert, Torney Judith and Jackson David, The Development of Basic Attitudes and Values Toward Government, Part I (Chicago, 1965), p. 380; and Jahoda Gustav, “Children's Ideas about Country and NationalityBritish Journal of Educational Psychology, 06, 1963.

9 Deutsch, “Arms Control,” op. cit., p. 368.

10 Hebb D. O., cited in Deutsch Karl, The Nerves of Government (New York, 1963), p. 166.

11 That is, the socialization which takes place in childhood and youth.

12 The concept also seems useful for interpreting political activity in other areas—notably Red China. Peking's recent mobilization of teen-agers to enforce conformity on the part of their elders may be linked with differences in the early political socialization of youth as contrasted with the adults. Fragmentary as our evidence is, there seem to be indications of a wide cleavage between the older and the youngest generations in the population at large, regarding their degree of commitment to the Maoist vision for Chinese society. It is probably noteworthy that the current teenage group has received its basic political socialization entirely since 1949, the year of Communist victory on the Mainland. This regime has given intense attention to the indoctrination of a new set of societal values. Apparently, the program of thought reform has not achieved the desired degree of communist piety through reorientation of adults in the general population. Its efforts have only now begun to reach fruition in the production of a highly-committed age cohort, capable of being used as guardians over less firmly Maoist groups. A parallel to the European phenomenon also seems to exist in the American context; it could be interpreted as due to a differential impact of this country's post-war internationalism on different age cohorts. A nation-wide survey of high school seniors and their parents in 1965 produced evidence of a possible intergenerational shift in the direction of more cosmopolitan political attitudes. Ranking the relative salience which four levels of government had for them (international, national, state and local), fully 65% of the students rated international politics in first or second place; only 42% of the parents did so. See Jennings M. Kent, Pre-Adult Orientations to Multiple Systems of Government (paper presented to the Midwest Conference of Political Scientists, Chicago, 04 1966).

13 There are indications that an age-specific pattern in American political party preferences may be linked to the differential impact which the Great Depression had on different age groups. These differences apparently have not decayed. See Campbell Angus, Converse Philip E., Miller Warren E., and Stokes Donald E., The American Voter (New York, 1960), pp. 153156.

14 The relative Europeanness of the youth in our samples probably springs from naiveté or adolescent rebellion to only a very limited degree. The fact that they have a relatively pessimistic (and perhaps realistic) view of how long it will take for Europe to become “unified”—and the fact that they have a level of knowledge which compares favorably with that of adults—tends to make an explanation in terms of naivete some what untenable. Our interviews indicated, moreover, that rebellion is not an important theme in connection with European integration. Despite the widespread prevalence of a stereotype of youthful rebellion, the available evidence suggests that it is important only in exceptional individual cases, as far as political views are concerned. See Jennings M. Kent and Niemi Richard G., Family Structure and the Transmission of Political Values (paper presented at the 1966 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York City, Sept. 6–10). Cf. Maccoby Eleanoret. al., “Youth and Political Change,” Public Opinion Quarterly (Spring 1954), pp. 2329.

15 1952–57 figures from USIA surveys cited in Puchala Donald, Western European Attitudes on International Problems, 1952–61 (New Haven, 1964), p. 9; 1962 figures from European Communities Information Service survey cited in Sondages, #1, 1963, p. 8.

16 Prior to the establishment of the EEC, British adults were consistently more favorable to European unification than were the French (see Table 4). Participation in a common (and successful) endeavor seems to have brought the French adults about even with British adults in Europeanness, while a reversal of the earlier relationship seems clearly reflected in the outlook of youth in the two countries. States of public opinion apparently can be outputs as well as inputs in relation to government decisions.

17 The patterns of age group responses cannot readily be compared due to the variety of cate gories used from survey to survey, and because of the excessive breadth of the categories.

18 In the factor analysis of responses from youth in the four countries, an item tapping the student's estimate of the length of time which will elapse before Europe is “united” had consistent (although only moderately high) loadings on the “Europeanness” factor; the direction of the relationship was always such as to indicate that an optimistic time estimate was linked with support for integrative measures.

19 There is an apparent flaw in this timetable: the defeat of E.D.C, in the French legislature came before the October, 1954 survey. However, at that time it was widely believed that the London Conference establishing the Western European Union would produce an even greater measure of European unification than would haveemerged from the E.D.C, (a union which would, moreover, include Britain). An IFOP survey in October, 1954 found that 52 % of the Frenchmen surveyed thought that the London Conference was a move toward European unification, as against 17% who thought it was a simple military alliance. A plurality of the former group felt that W.E.U. would go farther in this direction than E.D.C. These expectations were, of course, false; they seem to have produced a short-lived bubble of optimism about European unification. See IFOP surveys cited by Stoetzel Jean, “The Evolution of French Opinion” in Lerner D. and Aron R., France Defeats E.D.C. (New York: 1957), p. 101.

20 Jahrbuch der offentlichen Meinung (Verlag fur Demoskopie, Allensbach, 1957); and Informationsdienst, Institut für Demoskopie, January, 1966, cited in Rabier Jacques-RenéL'Opinion Publique et l'Europe (Brussels, 1966), p. 19.

21 Let me emphasize, however, that in my opinion the comparison with the 1963 adult data is definitely the more appropriate intergenerational comparison. Unfortunately, a different set of age-categories was used in coding this adult data, from those which were used with the 1963 adult data; we cannot make direct comparisons between adult groups. These age categories, of course, have a different relationship to periods of socialization than did the previous data.

22 It may also be speculated that the French were relatively less discouraged by the de Gaulle veto because it was, in a sense “their” veto; it was the French who were keeping the British out, and who could, perhaps, reverse themselves. To the Germans and Dutch, on the other hand, there may have been a greater sense of helplessness. A measure they strongly favored had been defeated by a man over whom they had no political control.

23 The Italian case is somewhat special. This country had a considerably lower level of political information than did any of the other EEC countries. A rather large “non-mobilized” segment of the Italian population had never pronounced itself as favorable to these measures in the first place, and hence did not fall away from supporting them in the face of the veto. Germany continues to rank ahead of France on the most important European measures in 1963, however (i.e., those loading highest on the Europeanness factor). We eliminate Luxemburg from this analysis because of the small sample size for that country.

24 She has, for example, favored a free-trade policy ever since the end of the Napoleonic Wars; her interest in international law dates back to Grotius, and was recognized (and perhaps strengthened) by the location of the World Court in The Hague.

25 This was true of public opinion, as well as of official Dutch policy. Indeed, an absolute majorveto said they would prefer a Common Market with Britain but without France, if it were necessary to choose. See Sondages, 11, 1963, p. 108.

26 I select this 28% of respondents from this age group at random, since there is no finer ageidentification available. To the extent that the predicted age-group differences hold true within this 15-year age group, this method will result in underestimating the age group contrasts—for I will be including a certain number of cases which dilute the differences between the younger and older halves. This is a fairly close approximation to recoding according to consistent (and more usable) age groups—and despite its imperfection, a fairly striking set of age group contrasts does result.

27 See The American Voter, op. cit., pp. 161ff.

28 This holds true of the younger French group as well; as indicated in the foregoing pages, the situation in that country is not quite comparable with the Dutch and German cases in relation to the veto of British admission.

29 E.E.C. Statistical Office, Foreign Trade Monthly Statistics, No. 4, Brussels, 1962, p. 9. This was a considerably higher rate of increase than obtained in the four years preceding 1958, See Econimische Statistiche Bericht, Rotterdam, Jan. 16, 1964.

30 O.E.C.D. General Statistics 1958–62 (Paris, 1963).

31 U.S. Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the U.S. (Washington, D.C., 1960), pp. 550, 552.

32 As presently constructed, the “index of relative acceptability” of foreign trade may reflect a general tendency for foreign trade to decline in proportion to GNP, as nations become highly in dustrialized. A primitive extractive economy, selling a few plantation crops or raw materials abroad and importing nearly all manufactured items, will be relatively dependent on foreign trade; a large and advanced industrial economy may be less so. As indicated by the American record, isolationism can accompany the early stage, and internationalism the latter stage. This is not accidental: America's high degree of involvement in world affairs at the present time is not weakened by her high domestic productivity—on the contrary, to a large extent, it is made possible by it.

33 Op. cit., p. 355.

34 Political “integration” has been defined as the attainment within a territory of a “sense of community”—a belief that common social problems must and can be resolved by a process of “peaceful change”; and of institutions and practices strong enough and widespread enough to assure, for a “long” time, dependable expectations of “peaceful change” among its population. Deutsch Karlet. al., Political Community and the North Atlantic Area, Princeton, 1957, p. 5.

35 See, for example, Gallup International, L'Opinion Publique et l'Europe des Six (Paris, 1962), pp. 2932.

36 Calculated from OECD, Tourism in Member Countries, 1965 (Paris, 1965); and OECD, Tourism in Europe, 1959 (Paris, 1959).

37 See Sondages (1963), #1, p. 38; cf. Inglehart, op. cit., Ch. 8.

38 About one in fourteen out-of-state Americans visited Florida in 1961. See Florida Council on Economic Development, Statistical Abstract of Florida (Tallahassee, 1962), p. 90.

39 See his definition, footnote 34.

40 Deutsch, “Integration and Arms Control,” op. cit., p. 357.

41 Ibid., p. 357.

42 See, for example, Declaration of the Action Committee for a United States of Europe, June, 1962.

43 See Ronald Inglehart, op. cit., Ch. 3. I use Yule's Q as a measure of association. Figures are for middle class youth only.

44 See Deutsch, “Integration and Arms Control,” op. cit., p. 361.

45 Leon Lindberg goes so far as to argue that de Gaulle's boycott of the EEC in 1965–66 does not even represent an attempt to halt the process of integration; it is, rather, a struggle over the form and content of decision-making procedures among actors who accept the European Community system. He presents persuasive evidence that the Common Market has developed such powerful support among economic elite groups that it is now irreversible—and recognized as such by de Gaulle. If Lindberg is correct, this is a highly significant development—and one which, necessarily, must have taken place since 1958. See Lindberg Leon, “Integration as a Source of Stress on the European Community System,” International Organization, 30 (1966), pp. 233266.

46 A plurality of them favor supranational European integration (Deutsch, “Arms Control,” op. cit., p. 358); 72% of French leaders agree that the military security of their country rests upon the deterrent force of the U.S. and “the idea of a national deterrent is unpopular among the elites in France, where it is official government policy.” (Ibid., p. 363.) Finally, “a large majority of French leaders (63%) agree that Britain ought to be included in an integrated Europe.” (Ibid., p. 360.)

* I wish to thank Samuel Barnes, M. Kent Jennings, Warren Miller and David Segal for their valuable criticisms of an earlier draft of this article. I am also grateful to Karl Deutsch for generously giving access to research reports from his study. The interpretations reached here are, of course, my own.

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