EUDENTIFY. Common institutions diverging identities?  

Supranational institution building, identity formation, and the future of European integration.  

Amid Brexit, rising populism and conflicts over EU solidarity in the covid-19 crisis, this project reveals the dynamic relationship between EU institution building and collective identity. The EU has accrued political authority over nearly half a billion citizens, even in policy areas that are closely linked to national sovereignty. However, political identities are still primarily tied to the member states and many people do not identify as European. 


The central theories of European integration offer contrasting views on the EU institutions-identity-link – some expect a spillover from institutions to identity, while others expect identity to constrain EU integration, but none can fully explain it. EUDENTIFY aims to present an integrated and empirically validated theory of the EU institutions-identity-link. We argue that the institutions-identity link varies across different policy areas and across time. Moreover, institutions and identities influence each other, both positively and negatively. EUDENTIFY reveals how these mechanisms produce diverging outcomes, i.e. inclusive vs exclusive identities, and integrating vs disintegrating institutions.  


EUDENTIFY asks three questions

(1)   What explains variation in the EU institution-identity link? 

(2)   Does European institution building impact collective identity? 

(3)   Does collective identity impact European institution building? 


EUDENTIFY aims to provide the first unified framework on the EU institutions-identity-link. It develops an innovative theoretical framework, provides ground-breaking new data and uses cutting-edge research methods to analyse 50 years of EU institution building and political identity change as well as its micro-foundations. The project advances knowledge on European integration, political psychology and public opinion, while providing unprecedented possibilities to study European identity over a much longer time frame and using better data than what was previously possible.


This research project is funded by a personal VIDI grant of the Dutch Research Council (€800.000; 2022-2027) awarded to Theresa Kuhn.