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Is this crisis different? Attitudes towards EU fiscal transfers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 2022-07-13 - 12:07

To mitigate the enormous and asymmetric economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has adopted an unprecedented €750 billion fiscal transfer programme, financed by joint member state liabilities. The highly contested decision pitted ‘frugal’ northern member states against ‘profligate’ southern member states. However, do citizens from northern countries view EU transfers as unfavourably as their governmental positions suggest? This article focuses on the crucial case of the Netherlands, whose government has become the assertive leader of the ‘frugal’ coalition. We test COVID-19 specific explanations based on a large-scale survey conducted at the height of the pandemic. Our analysis suggests that citizens who experience the non-material health and social effects of the pandemic more directly are more supportive of fiscal transfers than those to whom the pandemic is more abstract, whereas those who experience negative financial effects and those who believe that COVID-19 is a conspiracy are less supportive.

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