Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

Document Type



After twenty years, the European Union is undoubtedly at a crossroads, as its institutions try to manage the sovereign debt crisis in member states and the uncertainty surrounding the future direction of the project. The challenges the European Union has faced, and the response to them, have drawn considerable attention on the capacity of the European Union to manage the interests of the Europeans. In this dissertation, I discuss the process of Europeanization and why it has resulted in suboptimal outputs. Additionally, I discuss the perception of a democratic deficit in the European Union. The purpose of this is to see how perception of the capacity of the European Union to manage European interests and perception of a democratic deficit impact trust levels on the European Union. Using Eurobarometer 71.3 data, I find support for the hypothesis that those who perceive shortcomings in both of these aspects will be less likely to trust the European Union than those who do not. I argue that this finding makes the handling of sovereign debt crisis very important in determining the levels of trust the EU will enjoy moving beyond the crisis. Finally, I conclude with some thoughts about European identity in the contemporary era, and ask if the construction of a European identity might help the project withstand criticisms over policy and responsiveness.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ray, Leonard P