Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2017
The 2014 European Parliament (EP) election resulted in the rise of populist right-wing parties (PRPs). This paper aims to answer: why PRPs were able to rise in the 2014 EP election; what messages were delivered by the election results regarding European integration; and whether or not policy-makers addressed the messages correctly with the right policy responses? After examining the competing interpretations, this paper argues that a deep disillusionment and crisis of trust in the political establishment, which derived from the long neglect of deteriorating distributional justice and fairness in European integration, which became acute after the euro crisis mismanagement, explains the 2014 EP election results. This paper, accordingly, argues that policy redirection of EU economic governance and the addressing of a ‘social Europe’ are required to regain political trust. After assessing the policy responses taken by the EU, an economic Europe is expected to revive, but the required social Europe will still remain absent.