French Attitudes on EU Enlargement

A joint project of d|part and the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI)

In 2019 French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron’s vote against the acces­sion of North Mace­do­nia and Alba­nia showed the fragili­ty of efforts to con­tin­ue the enlarge­ment of the EU on the West­ern Balka­ns. Many com­men­ta­tors have assert­ed a deeply rout­ed scep­ti­cism in the French pub­lic as a key rea­son for these deci­sions. At first sight that seems plau­si­ble: sev­er­al polls seem to sug­gest that, when asked, a large num­ber of French peo­ple voice reser­va­tions. How­ev­er, the ques­tions asked typ­i­cal­ly only scratch the sur­face. Exist­ing stud­ies do not allow us to under­stand whether such crit­i­cal views are actu­al­ly deeply rout­ed or just super­fi­cial respons­es. Fur­ther­more, research so far does not show us how much peo­ple actu­al­ly care about this top­ic and how respons­es in rela­tion to West­ern Balkan coun­tries relate to eval­u­a­tions on enlarge­ment more gen­er­al­ly. 


This project aims to fill that gap. In coop­er­a­tion with the Brus­sels-based Open Soci­ety Euro­pean Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (OSEPI), d|part will con­duct a pub­lic opin­ion study on the issue in France. We will car­ry out a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sur­vey of the French adult pop­u­la­tion to elic­it their atti­tudes towards the expe­ri­ence of EU enlarge­ment to date, prospects of enlarge­ment in gen­er­al and views on spe­cif­ic coun­tries join­ing the EU in the near future on the West­ern Balka­ns and else­where. In addi­tion, we will exam­ine lev­els of knowl­edge about the EU and poten­tial acces­sion coun­tries and relate all these views to people’s wider polit­i­cal opin­ions. The results of the project will be pre­sent­ed pub­licly and made avail­able on the web­site (in autumn 2020).