Democratically deficient, yet responsive? How politicization facilitates responsiveness in the European Union
This article examines the thermostatic responsiveness of EU public policy. It inquires into the conditions under which EU policy decisions are responsive to wavering public demands for policy change and how European citizens in turn respond to policy change. The main argument holds that the politicization of EU policy processes facilitates both public and policy responsiveness. My expectations are tested based on a novel database containing information on 15 EU policy issues (2010–2016). The analyses draw from panel data based on Eurobarometer polls and a large-scale content analysis of 5887 media statements in eight European news outlets. The results demonstrate that under politicized conditions, the adoption of EU policy decisions is preceded by increased public support and followed by decreased public support for EU policy change. The facilitating role of politicization is primarily triggered by the mobilization of civil society groups, while media salience and polarization are less consequential for responsiveness.