A Giant Fast Asleep? Party Incentives and the Politicisation of European Integration



Hooghe and Marks recently introduced a new research agenda for the study of European integration focusing on politicisation, that is, the inclusion of mass public attitudes in the politics of European integration. The overall aim of this article is to respond to this new research agenda. Unlike the existing literature, which focuses on Euro-sceptical extreme left or right-wing parties, the article argues that the explanation for politicisation or the lack of it should be found in the incentives the issue offers for mainstream political parties. Denmark serves as a crucial case study to show the limitations of the existing literature and the need to focus on the incentives of mainstream political parties. Empirically, the article argues that expectations about the impending politicisation of European integration are misplaced. The giant is fast asleep because those who could wake it up generally have no incentive to do so and those who have an incentive cannot.