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Religious intolerance and Euroscepticism

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Research on Euroscepticism focuses increasingly on the role of group identities: national identities and attitudes towards multiculturalism. Yet hardly any attention has been paid to the way in which religious intolerance shapes Euroscepticism. We argue that religious intolerance influences not only diffuse Euroscepticism, but also more specifically opposition to enlargement of the European Union with Turkey. To examine the relationship between religious intolerance and Euroscepticism, this article analyses unique data from two representative surveys conducted in Ireland and the Netherlands. Our findings show that religious intolerance is indeed a powerful determinant of attitudes towards the European Union and that it particularly shapes people’s attitudes towards future Turkish enlargement. This study therefore contributes to the literature by demonstrating that social identities are strong determinants of Euroscepticism.

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