How the Lockdown Changed Political Attitudes in the EU

How the Lockdown Changed Political Attitudes in the EU


Balancing a branch of scientific research committed to wondering what happened and how it was possible, another equally important one is beginning to question the future of post-Covid humanity. The research on the long-lasting effects of Covid-19 among EU citizens is at the centre of an impressive survey launched by the transnational project ‘Covid-19 and Europeans' Political Attitudes’ which aims to investigate how the pandemic has changed people's attitudes towards institutions and their policies and can therefore influence their next electoral choices. Along with Ferancesco Passerelli for the COVID Crisis Lab, G. Daniele, A. Martinangeli, W. Sas and L. Windsteiger are also part of the group of researchers.
"In the background there is the will, first of all, to verify the widespread belief that in dramatic circumstances there is a greater propensity towards authoritarian policies", comments Francesco Passarelli, professor of European Economic Policy, "but the survey is composed of dozens of questions and therefore offers cues in many directions, from considerations on solidarity among individuals and countries to expectations towards supranational institutions". In order to grasp the causal effect of Covid on the answers of the interviewees, the survey adopted an experimental technique that consists in changing the sequence of some questions in a random way and  is now beginning to give its first results, in some ways surprising.
"From a first analysis of the data we are able to identify some effects", says Passarelli. "Covid in fact has strengthened people's confidence in science and law enforcement but, at the same time, it has reduced their confidence in politics, the European Union and the Community’s institutions. Returning to the question of the possible emergence of new phenomena of populism, the data show that the demand for authoritarianism on the part of European citizens has declined, but the strengthening of an anti-system sentiment creates a fertile ground for populist proposals among European citizens. Another element to underline is that the demand for public welfare would seem to be shrinking, especially if it is given to immigrants or populations of European states other than their own, as if Covid, in the end, has made us all more selfish".

by Emanuele Elli


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