Matthew Loveless "Social Inequality and Membership in the EU: Experience and Perception in Central and Eastern Europe"
Using new mass public surveys from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), this paper tests the efficacy of utilitarianism and economic values as the bases of support for the European Union (EU) now that they are member states. I theorize that while underlying ideological values continue to shape individuals’ assessment of EU membership, perceptions of how the market has performed, specifically in terms of addressing social inequality, serve as nuanced criteria of the market in practice. The empirical findings reflect this as, rather than an outright rejection of ‘the market’, how it has addressed inequality within its structure, independently influences EU support. This refines our understanding of the economic criteria citizens of CEE use to evaluate membership in the EU.
Key words: Central and Eastern Europe, European Union, Social Inequality, Utilitarianism