The future of the EU
The chapter explores the impact of the crisis on the national political elites’ attitudes with respect to the future course of European integration. These attitudes are considered from a twofold perspective. On the one hand, preferences concerning three possible alternative pathways of development in the institutional architecture of the EU, namely federalist, intergovernmental, and a third (compound) alternative, mixing elements of the other two. On the other hand, the authors examine the expectations of national representatives about the future course of the EU along two dimensions: degree of integration (political and economic) and effectiveness (economic and as a geopolitical actor). The results of the analysis show that, concerning institutional designs, no alternative attracts the support of a majority. The most preferred option is the ‘mixed’ one, while only a small proportion of the members of the national political elites prefer a full-fledged federal EU. An individual-level analysis demonstrates that federalist preferences are mostly guided by ideology, while intergovernmental preferences reflect an instrumental rationality. With respect to MPs’ view about the future of the EU, they are more optimistic concerning its effectiveness than with respect to the advancement of political and economic integration.