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The Political Elite and Trust in EU Institutions after the Crisis. A Comparative Analysis of the Hungarian Case

Elites and People: Challenges to Democracy

ISBN: 978-1-83867-916-3, eISBN: 978-1-83867-915-6

Publication date: 7 October 2019


Around 2006, dissensus became predominant in the Hungarian elite concerning internal affairs. Regarding evaluations of the European integration, however, there were no considerable differences between elite groups at that time. The Hungarian political elite supported the integration process and trusted in EU institutions. The present chapter addresses the issue to what extent the elite attitudes regarding European integration prevailed following the economic crisis of 2008. After a brief overview of the Hungarian context, the authors discuss political elites’ (national MPs’) trust in supranational institutions in 2007 and 2014 in the European countries. Our analyses find that the Hungarian political elite became one of the most sceptical elites towards the EU.

Next, the supranational trust of political elite and other (economic, administrative and media) elite groups within Hungary is compared. Results reveal that among Hungarian elite segments there is a hidden tension: political elites are critical towards the EU, while economic and media elites are not.

Finally, turning to the international stage again, the elite–population opinion gap is investigated. It is usually the case that elites are more pro-European than the public. Recently, however, in some respects the Hungarian political elite has shown less trust in EU institutions than the population.




György Lengyel acknowledges receipt of a grant from EFOP 3.6.3 when finalising this chapter. Laura Szabó was supported by OTKA NN 110917 while working on a project related to this chapter.


Lengyel, G. and Szabó, L. (2019), "The Political Elite and Trust in EU Institutions after the Crisis. A Comparative Analysis of the Hungarian Case", Engelstad, F., Gulbrandsen, T., Mangset, M. and Teigen, M. (Ed.) Elites and People: Challenges to Democracy (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 91-111.



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