Unconditional Trust? Public Opinion Towards the EU in Romania

Loredana RADU


Building on the largely acknowledged fact that attitudes to-wards the European Union are multidimensional (Hobolt 2014; Harteveld et. al. 2013), this paper aims at exploring the relationship between three important and presumably related dimensions: trust in national institu-tions, trust in the European Union, and confidence regarding the future of the European Union. Based on some relevant questions from the Stand-ard Eurobarometers implemented between 2007 and 2015, I pose that Ro-manians (still) perceive the European Union as a “lifebuoy”, as a better potential alternative to the national system of governance. I argue that the source of the Romanians’ Euro-enthusiasm has national, rather than European, roots. This phenomenon – which I call rational extrapolation - is emblematic for the countries where citizens see the European Union as a panacea for domestic problems that cannot be effectively addressed within the nation state. One important implication of this paper is that national proxies play a leading role in shaping EU-related opinions and attitudes.

Keywords: European Union, national government, trust, public opinion