How salient is Europe? An analysis of European election manifestos, 1979–2004
What determines how ‘European’ a party’s manifesto is? This article examines the salience of European issues in national parties’ Euromanifestos during the 1979–2004 period. I argue that domestic politics, including voter, party, and party system factors, influence the European content of a party’s Euromanifesto. Using data from the Euromanifestos Project for 14 member states, I find that the differential emphasis on European issues in the national party system, intra-party dissent on European integration, voter ambivalence on membership of the European Union, and party type all influence the salience of European issues in a party’s manifesto. These findings have important implications for understanding both how parties use manifestos to manipulate the political agenda and the dimensions of contestation in elections to the European Parliament.