Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Associate Director Alina Polyakova cowrites for the Journal of European Public Policy on whether the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 affected European views on nationalist identity:
The European Union’s (EU) political and economic integration project has grown dramatically since its inception in 1952. While the ultimate goal of the EU is unclear, one of its aspirations has been to attempt to create European citizens. The idea is that over time, citizens would look towards Europe as their main national identity. While the political and economic integration projects are quite far along, the national identity project has lagged far behind. The number of people who have primarily a European identity is quite small and has not increased much in the past 20 years. There is a far larger number of citizens for whom their national identity is paramount, but a European identity also exists. Since 2005, this group has grown smaller and the number of citizens with only a national identity has grown larger. This article argues that the EU integration project has pushed citizens to value their national identities more and to look to their national governments to protect them. We examine the evidence for this in the context of the 2007–9 financial crisis. We show that in countries most seriously hit by the crisis, national identities have increased dramatically and citizens with some European identity have decreased.