European Identity in Times of Crisis: an in-depth analysis of Estonia, Italy and the Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


This project examines the notion of European identity. It especially goes into the idea that there is a ‘European gap’ in terms of identification and geographical/social frame of reference. This implies that within societies there is a severe social division between the typically higher educated, younger, transnationally oriented ‘Europeans’ and the often polar opposite ‘nationals’, while both of these groups may inversely be very similar to their counterparts across European societies.
The EU has been quite successful in tying identifications with ‘Europe’ to itself in a variation of the traditional notion of a ‘civic’ identity instead of the rather vague ‘cultural’ notion of ‘Europe’ that arguably preceded it. If this is the case, then what happens to that European identity in times of crisis, now that the institutional shell of European integration appears to be faltering, at least for the time being?
Unsurprisingly, therefore, there has been renewed interest recently in the social dimension of European integration. Europe today appears to stumble from one ‘crisis’ to the next. Political solutions for these crises often point in the direction of ‘more Europe’, even though levels of euroscepticism among the electorate appear to be rising rather than declining, which reinforces an already present ‘European gap’ within societies.
This paper presents an analysis of in-depth interviews conducted during the past couple of ‘crisis years’ in Estonia (where in the same period the Euro currency was introduced), Italy (a member of the ‘PIIGS’ group), and the Netherlands (where solidarity towards the rest of Europe has been much debated).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventESA 11th Conference: Crisis, Critique and Change - Torino, Italy
Duration: 28 Aug 201331 Aug 2013


ConferenceESA 11th Conference
Internet address


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  • UACES Scholarship

    Moes, Jeroen (Recipient), 2010

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitivelyAcademic

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