It is widely believed that the 2019 European elections will be the first that could seriously undermine the paradigm of the ‘second order elections’ defined by Reif and Schmitt in 1980. With first the Euro-crisis and the Great Recession, and later the rise of Eurosceptic parties in all the member states, the issue of European integration as such has moved front and centre in domestic political arenas. The EU is not only criticized for its policies, but increasingly also for its very existence as a source of authority.

This is true also for Italy, a country long considered Europhile. The situation radically changed in the 2014 European elections when Eurosceptic parties won about 50 per cent of the votes. In 2019, parties campaigning against Europe are bound to prevail to an even greater extent.

The 2019 European elections are thus an excellent case study of whether the EU has become relevant within the domestic political arena. What is the balance between the processes of Europeanization and domestication? Are European elections still second-order elections, that is, are they perceived as less important than domestic ones by voters, politicians, and the media? Are domestic issues important for European elections? How are European elections used by parties at the national level? What issues are most likely to trigger the politicization of European integration and EU institutions? What do citizens think about European integration and other country members? What differences and overlaps emerge between Euroscepticism and populism?

These are possible research questions that this special issue of Italian Political Science (IPS) will address. We welcome empirical as well as theoretical studies addressing demand as well as supply side perspectives, with no preference for any particular methodological approaches. The focus will be on Italy although comparative studies are welcome.

We invite interested contributors to submit papers (between 4,000 and 6,000 words), with particular (but not exclusive) attention to the following issues:

  • Politicization of European integration and EU institutions
  • Europeanization and domestication
  • Second-order election theory
  • Voters’ opinions and behaviour
  • Media coverage of EU
  • Parties’ and leaders’ strategies
  • Digital and traditional campaigning
  • Euroscepticism and populism
  • Protest movements and political contestation against the EU

Expressions of interest can be sent to the Special Issue guest editors Giuliano Bobba (giuliano.bobba@unito.it) and Mario Quaranta (mario.quaranta@unitn.it). The deadline for the submission of papers is 1 July, 2019. Selected papers will be submitted for peer review.

Papers can only be submitted electronically through the online submission system available on the journal website.