While there is increasing evidence that European integration has been politicised, knowledge of the driving forces of this process is still limited. This article contributes to the research by examining the importance of authority transfers to the EU as drivers of politicisation. It innovates in two ways. First, it extends the authority transfer argument by highlighting the mobilising power of membership conflicts; second, it analyses the relevance of national opportunity structures, referenda in particular, and mobilising strategies for politicisation. Empirically, it traces politicisation in public debates on every integration step (treaty reforms and enlargement) from the 1970s to the late 2000s in six West European countries (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland), based on a quantitative content analysis of newspaper coverage.
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