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The Europeanisation of Everyday Life: Cross-Border Practices and Transnational Identities among EU and Third-Country Citizens

Final Report Summary - EUCROSS (The Europeanisation of Everyday Life: Cross-Border Practices and Transnational Identities among EU and Third-Country Citizens)

Executive Summary:
The EUCROSS project proposes that cross-border practices of all kinds – both physical and virtual – are a crucial aspect of an integrated Europe in the making. Consequently, the consortium examined the manifold activities of EU residents across the borders of nation states, and their relations with collective identities. The study included resident nationals, mobile EU citizens, and third-country nationals alike. Between 2011 and 2014, an extensive collection of sociological data in six EU member states (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and the UK) was carried out. These data have two main sources. First, a large-scale, systematic and independent CATI survey (the EUCROSS survey) was conducted with 8500 interviews of nationals of these six countries as well as immigrants from Romania and Turkey. Second, there was a set of follow-up in-depth face-to-face interviews with 160 respondents (the EUMEAN survey) from all groups.

These datasets advance existing studies on sociological Europeanisation by going well beyond conventional data such as Eurobarometer or the European Social Survey, and by taking its findings deep into a detailed breakdown of the transnational practices and orientations of ordinary Europeans. Thus, the project extends the realm of research on the debordering of European societies that has hitherto mostly been charted in terms of social theory rather than empirical detail, as well as contributing to studies of globalisation and regionalisation in the European context.

EUCROSS finds that cross-border practices are unevenly distributed in Europe, but are not split along simple lines of elite privilege, social class, age or education as normally assumed. While there is a significant minority of highly transnational individuals, and a relative majority of almost entirely immobile locals, the bulk of Europeans experience cross-border activities and interactions in their everyday life, even when they are not physically mobile. These are organized according to specific patterns and types which we describe empirically. Transnational activities show up also as key distinguishing factors of cultural consumption styles and tend to be clustered along regional lines that span across state boundaries.

Moreover, EUCROSS explores the association between cross-border practices and supra-national identities. These must be distinguished in terms of ‘European identification’, ‘European solidarity’ and a more global concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’. Different configurations emerge for different sub-populations and indicators, but overall it was found that transnational experiences are more likely to foster both Europe-wide solidarity and global cosmopolitanism than self-declared European identification. This may reflect the explicit anti-EU political campaigns that have marked the recession years during which the project unfolded, but also indicate how unconscious many Europeans are of their banal, everyday Europeanism.

Project Context and Objectives:
The EUCROSS project is part of the EC’s 7th Framework Programme (‘Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities’, Activity 8.5: “The Citizen in the European Union”). Its primary goal was to explore European citizenship and its relation to identities and practices. In particular, EUCROSS referred to Area 8.5.2 (‘Diversities and commonalities in Europe’) that focuses on understanding the future of Europe on the basis of different cultural and social experiences, taking into account knowledge, attitudes and practices of European citizens and third-country nationals.

From a policy point of view, the suggestion of the 2010 Work Programme for the EC’s 7th Framework Programme was that research is needed to assess the impact on European identity of the on-going internationalisation of everyday social practices in Europe, and consequently tailor local, national and European Union policies that promote a spirit of EU-wide cohesion and commonality.

Specifically EUCROSS responded to the suggested topic for small or medium-scale collaborative focused research projects “European Identities: Inner and outer perceptions of Europe and the EU” (code: SSH.2010.5.2-1). The EUCROSS project addressed these research contents focusing on the whole range of cross-border practices that are experienced by individuals living in the EU, distinguishing three main social groups (nationals, EU mobile citizens and third-country nationals) and encompassing analysis of physical and virtual cross-bordering.

The EUCROSS project examined the relationship between the manifold activities of EU residents (nationals, mobile EU citizens, and third-country nationals) across the borders of nation states and their collective identities. To disentangle empirically the factors and mechanisms that link together the cross-border practices facilitated by European integration, globalisation and/or other dimensions of collective identity, EUCROSS adopted a two-stage, mixed quantitative/qualitative approach.
In the first stage, a quantitative survey (the EUCROSS survey) was carried out among nationals, intra-EU movers (Romanian citizens) and third-country nationals (Turkish citizens) who reside in six European countries (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom). Overall, the EUCROSS survey consists of 8500 interviews to nationals of these six countries and immigrants from Romania and Turkey.

In the second stage, via in-depth interviews to 160 former respondents to the EUCROSS survey, the meaning given by individuals to cross-border practices, their collective identifications, and the role that the European Union, globalisation, and the nation play in these personal narratives, was investigated. This was called the EUMEAN survey.

At a very general level, EUCROSS addressed the theme of the sociological foundations of European integration. The project tackled an argument that resonates strongly in the public discourse but is also echoed in much social science on the subject: namely, that European integration is ‘an elite process’. This argument has two strands. The first one, less problematic, holds that the EU (and its former institutional incarnations from the 1950s onwards) has been designed and advanced by a very small slice of the European population. By itself this should not be surprising: all new political regimes tend to be elite creations. However, the second strand is much more contentious, and affects the chances of future European unity. It maintains that ‘Europe’ has become part of the life of the upper classes and a privileged segment of those classes who most directly benefit from European integration, while the rest of the populace is increasingly alienated from it. According to this view, the EU population is split between a minority of Europeanized citizens and a majority of non-Europeanized ones, with national middle classes wavering in between.
The EUCROSS project tested this argument by assessing empirically the degree of ‘horizontal Europeanisation’ of EU citizens, as well as an indicative sample of third country nationals.

The project focused on practices (i.e. behaviour) but did not downplay the relevance of subjective dimensions of Europeanisation – a European ‘identification’ or, in a broader meaning preferred by EUCROSS researchers, ‘sense of belonging’, as well as values, whether national or cosmopolitan. Broadly speaking, the project provided a systematic test of the ‘transactional thesis’ put forward initially by Karl Deutsch, according to which cross-border practices do convey a sense of supra-national belonging.
Project Results:

On the basis of project-generated data, EUCROSS carried out an extensive analysis of the diffusion of cross-border practices in the six EU member states of the consortium and their implications on subjective aspects of Europeanization. In this summary, we outline the main findings of the project (for a more detailed analysis, see Deliverable 9.17 of the project, Final Scientific Report, also available online:

This overview of the main project findings is organized as follows. Section 1 describes types of cross-border mobilities and illustrates their combination in an empirically-based typology of Europeans. Section 2 delves into forms of cultural consumption, outlining the social configurations that structure them and highlighting the key role of transnational practices. Section 3 uses EUCROSS as a complement to Eurobarometer data to elucidate in greater detail the diverse spatial and historic-cultural rooting of cross-border practices, by country groups and by subnational areas. Section 4 analyses self-declared European identification among national and non-national residents, indicating the importance of cross-border friendship ties but also the persistent and prevailing grounding of Europeanness in nationally specific configurations. Section 5 explores the relations between cross-border practices and a sense of European solidarity. Section 6 looks at the relationship of cross-border practices to cosmopolitan values, looking at how these vary by nationality but also, significantly, by social positions, and in particular by levels of education.

1. A typology of Europeans by forms of cross-border practices

To what extent Europeans live their lives beyond their nation states? How are cross-border mobilities adjusted into their everyday lives?

To start with, we devised a classification of cross-border activities – both physical and virtual – that is applied in fieldwork to map out concrete behaviours (see working paper n. 3).

On the basis of this classification, to examine the patterns of mobility practices among EU citizens we resorted to latent class analysis (LCA). Using Mplus 6.12 we performed exploratory LCA in order to group individuals into classes with similar patterns of mobilities. We also included one indicator not referring directly to practices (‘familiarity with other EU countries’) but that captures imaginative mobility (and is found to be significantly discriminant and insightful in interpreting results). The final model we accomplished consists of six classes and was selected on the basis of the model fit measures (see working paper n. 5). These clusters of respondents differ in the combination of ways in which they undertake – or not – physical and virtual cross-border practices.

In the first place this classification invites to think about mobilities in non-dichotomous terms, as we distinguish six groups ranging from most mobile transnationals to least mobile locals. Classes in-between the two extremes of such a continuum (virtual transnationals, visitors, tourists, returnees) provide an interesting insight into the intersection of different mobilities.

Locals form the most numerous latent class, accounting for just over 30 per cent of the EUCROSS sample. They rarely cross national borders, both physically and virtually.

On the other end of the mobility continuum there is the small but relevant group of transnationals. What is distinctive about this cluster of respondents is that they score above average on all indicators of physical and virtual cross-border practices. They are highly physically mobile both long and short term. They have higher probabilities of having had some migration experience, taken part in EU funded programmes and they are also likely to have travelled abroad recently. Furthermore, transnationals move in the virtual world when they maintain connections with family and friends located abroad via phone and computer assisted modes of communication. Compared to other groups, they also relatively often make use of online shopping and money transfers across the borders. Finally, they are competent movers who claim they are familiar with other countries than the one they come from and who follow tv content in original language. Being fully-fledged transnational remains quite rare, as only six per cent of the EUCROSS sample belongs to this group.

Between the two extreme cases represented by locals and transnationals, our classification points to a rich constellation of physical and virtual mobilities. Virtual transnationals may seem quite similar to locals in the way they seldom physically travel or have lived abroad. Unlike locals, however, they are remarkably well connected internationally through family and friendship networks. They rely heavily on phones and Internet to connect with these networks. They may lead local everyday lives in spatial terms, but cyberspace makes them well connected to others who are spread around the world. Virtual transnationals constitute around eight per cent of the EUCROSS sample.

Visitors’ use of communication technologies in order to keep in touch with friends and family abroad is not too different from that of virtual transnationals. However, it is perhaps ‘the compulsion of proximity’, to meet face-to-face (and qualitative material sheds more light on that issue) people abroad that makes visitors travel to other European countries in larger numbers. Their travel experiences are therefore not tourist-like, but rather well informed and culturally embedded. Their relative propensity for international travel coincides with visitors’ being familiar with other countries. Visitors make up slightly over 11 per cent of the EUCROSS sample.

Also tourists do engage in short term physical cross-border practices considerably, but they rarely stay in touch with people who are settled in other countries. Their journeys are not sustained by personal ties in the places they move to. This does not hinder some cultural returns to travelling: like other physically mobile groups, and in contrast to virtual transnationals, they hold higher probabilities of sharing a feeling of familiarity with other countries. They also relatively often follow tv content in another language.

The last cluster is formed by returnees. They have a relatively high propensity to having migrated in the past (although not as high as transnationals), and thus relatively often declare familiarity with other countries, keep in touch with family and friends abroad and send/receive money internationally. They use internet to sustain personal cross-border relations, but not to engage in instrumental and kind of more up-to-date activities, like international e-shopping (they are the least involved among the six clusters). In spite of their past migration experience, over the last two years only half of them crossed national borders, which is less than transnationals, visitors and tourists, although more than the virtual transnationals and locals.

What is the social profile of these six types of Europeans in the EUCROSS sample? Transnationals and tourists more often tend to be male while women are overrepresented among virtual transnationals and locals. Other groups tend to have a relative gender balance. Perhaps due to their new technologies literacy, the majority of visitors and virtual transnationals tends to belong to younger age cohorts than the other groups (68 and 58 per cent respectively aged 46 and below). Equally, the majority of transnationals is aged 46 and below. On the contrary, locals and returnees are more likely to belong to older cohorts. Being a tourist does not seem to be related to age, as membership to this group spreads along the whole age spectrum. Cross-border practices are highly differentiated depending on the education level. Almost three in four transnationals hold a university degree. Visitors and tourists are also more likely to be university educated than the overall sample. Mobilities are predicated on prior capabilities, which range from financial resources to language skills, which in turn hinge on education. Transnationals, and to lesser extent tourists and visitors, are not only better educated on average, but also more likely to be found in the upper social strata, as captured by self-reported socioeconomic status. The proportion of people declaring to ‘live comfortably’ on their income is dramatically different between transnationals and virtual transnationals (respectively 72 per cent and 41 per cent), showing that the latter are possibly ‘constrained’ into the cyberspace by a lack of financial resources. The gap is in fact modest between transnationals and visitors, but widens when comparing transnationals to other more sedentary categories. Mobilities are both expensive and status-enhancing – unfortunately we are not in a position to disentangle whether they are more of a cause than an effect.

Finally, among transnationals and visitors Danes outnumber other nationalities. The majority of tourists also come from Denmark and Germany. Locals are in fact over-represented among Italians and Spaniards. Returnees most often hold Romanian and British citizenship. Over four in ten virtual transnationals are Romanian citizens.

In sum, our evidence shows that there are two polar social types: transnationals, scoring high on all forms of mobility, and locals, who stay aloof from all of them. On the basis of the random six-country sample of the EUCROSS project, we estimate that these two extremes together account for slightly more than one third of EU citizens. The remaining two thirds, however, are not distributed along a simple continuum of gradients of mobility behaviours, but rather tend to assemble diverse combinations of mobilities that emphasize varying aspects of cross-border opportunities.

2. Cross-border cultural practices

The EUCROSS project provides data that enable researcher to study some aspects of the European cultural field, and more especially the role of tastes in music, food and sport interests, and how they reflect cultural but also symbolic boundaries that cross-cut the European social space. In particular, in the project we concentrated on music and food preferences. This analysis addresses an ongoing debate in the sociology of culture on new forms of cultural distinction and their relations with transnationalism and cosmopolitanism.
Referring to the typology presented in section 1, we found that transnationals show the strongest preference for world music, followed by the returnees and in contrast with the locals who tend to most dislike it. The returnees tend to have a similar profile as the transnationals with the exception that they appreciate more traditional music from the country of origin, which could possibly be a nostalgia effect. Both groups tend to have the highest means in terms of number of music genres liked. Visitors tend to also be characterized by a highbrow orientation but to like fewer highbrow genres in comparison with transnationals and returnees. However the three groups are only significantly different from the tourists and the locals in this respect. Both tourists and locals tend to be more ‘univorous’ – that is, to have a limited set of music tastes. The bulk of tourists does not to like traditional music but listens to pop music. Virtual transnationals appreciate to a greater extent traditional music.

Moreover, in terms of supra- or sub-national identity those who consider themselves as citizens of the world tend to appreciate world music to a greater extent than those who don’t (30% of citizens of the world tend to like world music compared to 19% in the rest of the sample). Similarly there is an association between an identification to the country and to the region of residence and a preference for music from country of residence. However, even among those who identify themselves to these geographical areas, there is still a substantial proportion who doesn’t enjoy this music style. The same observation holds for the link between European identification and an appreciation of music from another country of Europe.

Analogously, there is a clear association between mobility practices and food tastes. Among the transnationals all foreign cuisines are likely to be enjoyed more than in the rest of the sample. The tourists tend also to enjoy various foreign cuisines. In comparison the locals are characterised by an overrepresentation of people who don’t like foreign food (27% of the locals). The virtual transnationals represent the second group to dislike foreign food but they tend to enjoy Italian food. 45% of the visitors tend to appreciate Asian food. They tend to like it more than other European cuisines. Overall, tastes for international cuisines are related more to mobility practices than to differences in local, national and supranational identifications.

In order to obtain the main dimensions structuring the European space of tastes, we performed multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). This method, which is the same as the one used in Bourdieu’s Distinction (1979), is much valued to provide a picture of the organization of tastes in Europe and their relationships to mobility practices, identities and social space. Given its relational features, MCA is certainly appropriate to test a correspondence between the cultural space of tastes and the social space of cross-border practices.

The first step in a specific MCA consists in choosing the number of axes that properly define the space of cultural profiles. Taking the five first axes brings explained variance up to 67%. We analyse and interpret the first five axes which reflect the main cultural dimensions in the European space of tastes.

Axis 1 illustrates a tension between a taste for diverse music genres and, especially metal, rock and hip hop on the one hand, and a dislike of most genres with the exception of an appreciation of traditional music from country of residence on the other. Most of the variables contributing to structuring Axis 2 are related to enjoying Asian or French cuisine. Axis 3 is marked by love for highbrow European cuisine and rejection of traditional and popular music. Axis 4 expresses attachment to culturally close expressions of music and food (ie, national or of the same geocultural area). Axis 5 is defined by an opposition between European and non-European cultural products.

The different types of sub- or supra-national identities appear to be relatively unrelated to the question of tastes in the European space. The categories within each variable don’t show significant oppositions on any of the five axes. What is somewhat more interesting are the different positions of the types of cross-bordering Europeans. There is a noticeable contrast between the visitors and the transnationals and the locals. Not very surprisingly, the locals are closer to the pole of local cultural products, whereas the transnationals and the visitors are characterised by musical and food openness.

In sum, cross-border practices are related to tastes with the more mobile people having more cultural resources to acquire a diversity of tastes. Our results underline again the link between education and openness, while both seem also associated with mobility practices. This tends to be in line with an idea of highly mobile cultural groups, opposed to more locally anchored and less culturally and economically rich groups.

3. The regional dimension of cross-border practices

Transnationalism is a cross-border multiple bridge that links not only national societies but also different regions and communities. Moreover, social transnationalism has identity, consumption and networks as its key components.

Eurobarometer (EB) 73.3 data and EUROSTAT data for all the NUTS 2 regions are used to identify areas of the EU with transnational links. EUCROSS data on natives are used to refine the interpretation of the EB&EUROSTAT data. Social transnationalism as key dependent variable is measured by personal migration experience, indirect migration experience, attachment to a foreign country and consumer behaviours involving cross-border (actual or virtual) mobility. An index of transnationalism and a typology of the phenomenon are tested for significant variations in five categories of regions (poor, developed, socially poor, socially developed and of low competitiveness), controlling for a series of demographics. The results indicate that social transnationalism is significantly influenced by the development pattern of the regions even if one controls for country characteristics. Once the abstract relation between transnationalism and regional characteristics is proved, we provide a detailed description of patterns of transnationalism specific by categories of regions.

Transnationalism as a web of networks and practices connecting paired societies across borders is a social construction by specific mechanisms related, mainly, to mobility or migration and expressions of social choices or values. We build a typology that distinguishes among migration, project, values, consumption, and comprehensive transnationalism. The dominant type of transnationalism is based on consumption (about one quarter of EU population) and this segment of population is mainly located in Western Europe (see working paper n. 8).

The typological distribution of social transnationalisms (STNS) is highly regionalised. Each out of the five European macro-regions has a profile: NMS are defined by high project transnationalism, with a higher probability of this type in the extreme Eastern part of this region; Southern European countries are similar to NMS by their large share of low transnationalism people but do not record high percentages for project transnationalism; comprehensive and migration transnationalism is specific to the North of Europe and consumption transnationalism to Western Europe.

The highest concentration for each of the five types of STNS are for:
• Its consumption form in Netherlands (56%), Malta (48%), Luxembourg (46%), and Belgium (44%);
• The comprehensive type in Luxembourg (21%), Ireland (10%), Spain (8%), and the UK (7%);
• Value and commuting form in Luxembourg (8%), Malta (8%), Denmark (7%), and Netherlands (7%);
• Migration based STNS in Cyprus (19%), Sweden (17%), Luxembourg (17%), Ireland (15%), and Netherlands (12%);
• Project transnationalism in Latvia (25%), Lithuania (19%) and Estonia (10%).
Low STNS with a dominant localistic orientation of the population has the largest shares in Italy (80%), Bulgaria (77%), Poland (74%), Greece (73%), and Romania (70%).

The familiarity with different foreign countries is a basic indicator for the STNS profile of the country. Unfortunately we do not have its values at regional level to explore its relevance with Eurobarometer data. The information is however available for the EUCROSS survey on natives in six European countries. Denmark, Germany and the UK are much richer in space competence as given by the percent of people that declare being familiar with at least two foreign countries. Tertiary educated people from Spain, Italy, and Romania have a comparatively very low score on the space competence index. As expected, the foreign country familiarity index is higher for people with high human capital (speaking foreign languages and having higher education), higher migration experience abroad (directly, at personal level, or indirectly, by friends and relatives abroad), and more affluent households.

Overall, our analyses show that mobility experiences resulting from personal, friends, and relatives abroad are by far the most important factors in increasing the probability to enter the majority of transnational social fields in Europe. Their impact is higher for New Member States citizens compared to citizens of the EU15, for whom social transnationalism is more often an outcome of human capital.

4. Supra-national identification among movers and stayers in Europe

In this section, the focus is on the identification with Europe and cosmopolitan attitudes. By doing so we are investigating the conscious self-identification of individuals. On the contrary it is not our aim to inquire the existence of a “European identity”. In drawing this distinction we follow Brubaker and Cooper (2000) who argue that “identity”, due to its nature as a social construct, is not suitable as analytical category.

The study of migrants introduces important additional aspects compared to the study of general populations. The mere fact of having migrated distinguishes the former already by definition from (internationally) immobile “stayer” populations. Their experiences should therefore be immediately conducive to transnational attitudes. Depending on the age at migration they have also been socialised in one or more countries and many of them are fluent in more than one language. In addition, migrants can relate not only to one country and to supra-national entities, but to two different countries in a much more encompassing sense than members of national populations with transnational contacts.

In this section, we address two sets of research questions. The first two refer to the comparison of stayers and movers:

(1) Do migrants show stronger supra-national identifications than stayers?
(2) Do the variables measuring transnational background and behaviour affect supranational identification in a similar way for movers and stayers? Or is migration experience so dominant that additional transnational background and behaviour has a much lower importance for migrants?

The second set of main research questions relates to the difference between Romanian and Turkish migrant groups:

(3) Do Romanian migrants show a stronger supranational identification than Turkish migrants?
(4) Do the variables measuring transnational background and behaviour work in a similar way for both migrant groups?

An interesting picture emerges for identification with the EU: With the exception of the United Kingdom, where identification with the EU is rather weak, all other stayer populations are on a comparable level. However, European identification among stayers is in most cases markedly below that of country of residence identification, in particular in Denmark and Romania. Romanian migrants score higher than the stayer populations and dramatically higher than the Turks. It is also noteworthy that identification with the EU is, by a wide margin, higher than identification with the country of residence for all migrant groups.

A general cosmopolitan attitude is slightly higher than EU identification in Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom, while the contrary is true in Italy, Romania and Spain. The difference in cosmopolitanism between the Romanian and Turkish migrants is rather small and most pronounced in Germany. Especially high cosmopolitanism is found among the Turks in Romania. The members of this group are indeed exceptional in their high local and regional as well as supra-national identifications, combined with a complete lack of identification with Romania as a country. When comparing European identification and cosmopolitanism among migrants, it becomes obvious that for the Turks cosmopolitanism is much higher than identification with Europe, while for the Romanians there is virtually no difference between the two.

Multivariate regression analyses show that, taken singularly, cross-border practices are not significant predictors of higher levels of self-identification as ‘European’. Only a few of the demographic variables and forms of transnational behaviour have a significant effect: The better the current economic situation of the household, the more European respondents feel. Women identify more with Europe than men. The same holds true for older compared to younger people, contrary to our expectation regarding the stayer population and to earlier Eurobarometer based analysis. The knowledge of foreign languages and the consumption of TV content in a foreign language also contribute to European identification amongst national respondents.

In fact, some cross-border practices are significant predictors of self-identification as ‘cosmopolitans’: Longer sojourns outside of the European Union, number of trips abroad in the last 24 months, having a non-EU partner, and contacts to foreign countries . Identification with the EU is not just a variant of a general cosmopolitan attitude and is less affected by cross-border practices than cosmopolitanism.

In the case of the migrant samples, Romanians in all countries of residence resemble each other and are located on a much higher level of European identification than the Turks. Turkish and Romanian migrants differ from each other over and above what can be expected by their different demographic background and their transnational behaviour. This result is in support of our hypothesis that the different legal status of Romanian and Turkish migrants strongly influences their differences in European identification.

As far as the transnational background and behaviour variables are concerned, very few of them have a significant effect. As hypothesised, those migrants who stated that they spent their youth in economically difficult conditions show more European identification than those who did not. However, since this was measured by a retrospective assessment which probably most respondents gave in direct comparison to their current situation, the finding basically means that identification with Europe is higher for those respondents who subjectively judge that they achieved a substantial improvement of their economic situation since their late childhood. It seems safe to assume that they attribute this improvement to a large extent to the realisation of their migratory project and the opportunities it provided them with. This could also indicate that the differences in attitudes towards the European Union are connected to a growing gap between ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of globalisation (Kriesi et al. 2006). Recent findings based on Eurobarometer data confirmed that such an effect is indeed visible regarding the EU-population as a whole (Teney, Lacewell, and De Wilde 2014). Among the variables characterising the friendship network, only the number of friends from the country of residence who live in the country of residence have a significant positive effect on European identification. The same applies to the frequency of contacts via social networking sites with family members, relatives and friends abroad during the last year. As expected, additional languages have a positive effect, while experiences of discrimination have a negative effect on European identification.

5. Transnational solidarity and cross-border practices

This section focuses on the factors that promote European social solidarity among European citizens – a key dimension of the sense of belonging to Europe as operationalized in the EUCROSS project. Given the context of the recent economic crisis, transnational social solidarity is operationalised as support for Eurobonds and other mechanisms that have been presented by national and EU policy-makers as solutions to the economic difficulties some of the EU countries faced during the 2008-2013 period. We formulate the following hypotheses:

H1. Individuals who display a stronger degree of identification with Europe are more likely to express European solidarity.
H2. Individuals with a larger array of cross-border practices and connections are more prone to European solidarity.

More specifically, transnational friendships and cross-border mobility practices, such as travelling or residing in other EU countries, are factors that can enable the formation of EU-wide ‘we-ness’. This, in turn may spill over into a conception of solidarity at the transnational level. The analysis tests if these practices have a direct impact on solidarity or if they actually contribute to the embracement of a supranational identification which in turn has a positive effect on solidarity at the level of the EU. Two additional hypotheses are derived:

H2a. A larger range of European friends increases European solidarity. Since transnational friendships are relevant not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of diversity of nationalities, it is expected that both the size and national diversity of friendship to have a positive impact on transnational solidarity.
H2b. A larger degree of cross-border practices is positively associated with European solidarity. Following the analysis in section 1 it is expected that more enduring patterns of cross-border interactions such as those of transnationals, visitors and returnees to be positively related to the endorsement of transnational forms of solidarity.

The analysis is based on national respondents in the EUCROSS sur vey. Question 3.15 of the EUCROSS survey is relevant for constructing the dependent variable:
‘The EU member states are currently pooling national state funds to help EU countries having difficulties in paying their debts. On a scale from one to five, where one means “strongly disagree” and five means “strongly agree”: Please tell me how much you agree with this measure?’.

The distribution of respondents’ preferences regarding European solidarity is influenced by their national context. As table 1 shows, roughly 50 per cent of respondents endorse institutional arrangements for financial risk sharing. However, Danish and German respondents tend to adopt a neutral (3) position while almost two thirds of Spaniards and Italians declare to agree and strongly agree. Romanians place themselves nearer Southern European opinions, while only a minority of British respondents agree with transnational financial redistribution. Although clear differences between countries can be observed, the relationship between the context of residence and preferences on transnational solidarity is weak (Cramer’s V<.20). This suggests that besides nationality, other factors play a more important role in explaining the diversity of opinions of EUCROSS respondents.

It is noteworthy that respondents have distinct understandings of the bases of solidarity. The interviews from the qualitative EUMEAN survey are illustrative of this diversity of opinions. As an overall observation, German and Italian respondents tend to interpret solidarity as an individual act, while Spanish and Romanian interviewees speak more often about solidarity among nation states. It is worth noting, though, that regardless of the meaning, the majority of respondents agree on the fact that neither citizens nor governments showed enough solidarity during the economic crisis.

Multivariate regression analyses do confirm and qualify our hypotheses. First, identification with the EU is a significant predictor for the support of a European conception of solidarity (H1). Second, and most relevant in the overall logic of EUCROSS, the larger the number of foreign friends, the greater the likelihood of expressing European solidarity (H2a). The difference between the various groups of transnational friendships is even more visible when we take into account the range of European nationalities that constitute them. Thus, the larger the number of countries these friends live in, the greater the likelihood of expressing European solidarity.

The relation between European solidarity and patterns of cross-border practices, to control for hypothesis H2b, displays a complex outlook. The cleavage in terms of attitudes towards European solidarity is not between locals and transnationals. Still the results make sense: the least likely from showing solidarity with other Europeans are the tourists, even more so than locals. Tourists are characterized by non-committed, consumption-oriented mobility experiences. European solidarity is most likely bolstered by returnees. This finding suggests that it is not necessarily the frequency or intensity of physical border-crossing to determine a conception of transnational solidarity, but an enduring, long-term and emotional immersion in another society.

6. Transnationalism, inequality and cosmopolitanism

In this final section, we explore whether cross-border practices across Europe correlate with more privileged social positions. Moreover, we examine the association of transnationalism to cosmopolitan values, which would both point to a progressive global outlook, as well as concurring with the European promoting of particular values: its so called “normative power” agenda. In this way we are able to look into the apparent paradox of highly transnational yet supposedly Eurosceptic nations, as well as assessing to what extent the EU can take credit for the spread of cosmopolitan values alongside the “everyday transnationalism” it has facilitated.

To what extent each of the different transnational practices examined is unequally distributed across different social groups in the six EUCROSS countries? To that end we chose to calculate “odds ratios” that express the relative degree of inequality in access to or performance of a certain practice. An odds ratio of 2 for “familiarity” in Germany means that respondents with tertiary education are 2 times more likely to be familiar with another country than respondents with less than tertiary education (ie, secondary and compulsory education).

The fact that in most cases the odds ratio is well above 1 indicates that the highly educated respondents display a higher degree of mobility across all six practices. There is some variation across the type of mobility practice in terms of inequality. The figure suggests that the more resource-craving types of mobility practices are more unequally distributed in each of the six countries (like three or more overnight trips in the last 24 months or travel to many countries before the age of 18). Finally, it seems like there is not very much variation between the six countries in terms of the degree of inequality across items, although Romanians seems to lag behind at least with respect to some mobility practices.

In a next step we take a look at the other specific forms of transnationalism. Transnational relations are not very stratified across levels of educational attainment in the EUCROSS countries. Both the measure for knowing somebody abroad and having a partner with foreign citizenship hardly surpass an odds-ratio of 2 in any of the selected countries. Again, with the exception of Romania, levels of inequality are quite similar across all of the countries. We then look at financial relations across borders. Level of education plays a bigger role in Romania when it comes to “middle class” consumerism, which is indicated as quite routine among West Europeans across all educational groups. Sending money abroad does not seem to be particularly related to educational background whereas receiving messages from abroad seems more prevalent among the respondents with higher education.

Finally, we create and dichotomize a summary index of transnationalism (the sum of all cross-border practices, each counted as 1) into a high transnationalism group (scores 6-13, 22 percent of the pooled sample) and low transnationalism group (scores 5 and below, 78 percent of the pooled sample) to gain an impression of how education, class and gender are related to transnationalism across Europe. In terms of educational level, inequality in “high transnationalism” almost linearly increases from North to South. The UK, the country next to Spain with the highest level of inequality, does not quite fit this pattern however. We might infer that these countries are more likely to sustain the Euroclash interpretation of sociological Europeanization, while countries with less inequality of access to transnationalism, Denmark and Germany, may be showing more signs of some massification of EU-wide transnationalism. Moreover, stratification in transnational practices seems to be much more related to education than to class. Possibly this can be interpreted in a way that transnational practice is to a lesser extent a direct consequence of financial resources or social prestige (i.e. class) and to a larger extent associated with a more international outlook and attitude that gets typically fostered in the higher education environment (access to which may of course be stratified by class or not). Finally, with the exception of Romania, age is almost not related to transnationalism, while women slightly less often display high levels of transnationalism than men.

In our last step we explore whether transnational practices observed in our sample of countries can be systematically related to cosmopolitan values by regressing the cosmopolitan index on transnational practices. We go beyond previous work by introducing our four dimensions of transnationalism (mobility, relations, consumerism/communication and capital) separately in the model. Furthermore we can account for a richer set of control variables that might mediate the relationship between transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. In addition, we ran separate models for high vs. low education respondents to explore whether the strength of the relationship between transnational practice and cosmopolitan values is of equal relevance across educational levels. One could hypothesize that transnational practices are more common among the wealthy and privileged, but are more beneficial (i.e. make more of a positive difference) for the development of cosmopolitan attitudes for respondents with lower levels of education.

In the final scientific report, we show four OLS regression models based on our pooled country sample. In the first model transnational practices, a set of basic demographic controls (age, gender place of birth) as well as country dummy variables are included. To test whether a potential association between transnational practices and cosmopolitanism cannot be simply attributed to respondents’ socioeconomic position, we introduce measures for respondents’ education and occupational status (ISEI) in a second model. The estimates from Model 1 reveal that each dimension of transnationalism is significantly related to cosmopolitan attitudes. As would be expected, in Model 2, controlling for occupational status and education reduces the coefficient size for all dimensions of transnationalism. Nevertheless, all coefficient estimates remain statistically significant with the exception of transnational mobility. These results are in line with previous studies showing that the effect of transnational practices on cosmopolitan attitudes (Mau et al. 2008) or European identification (Kuhn 2012) cannot be simply attributed to socioeconomic control variables. The coefficients for the country dummy variables (Britain is the reference category) indicate that net of transnationalism and socio-demographic controls, pronounced and statistically differences in cosmopolitanism between countries remain: The British have higher net levels of cosmopolitanism than the Danes and the Germans, and lower levels than Italians, Romanians and Spanish. It follows that while cross-border transnational practices do seem to influence cosmopolitan orientations in the expected direction, they cannot account for the observed country differences.

Finally we run model 2 separately for respondents with higher education (model 2a) and lower levels of education (model 2b). Comparing the two education-specific models reveals that all of the coefficient estimates for transnationalism remain statistically significant in the model for respondents with lower levels of education, but the opposite is true for the “higher education model” where only the coefficient estimate for consumerism/communication is significantly different from zero. These results point in the direction that travelling and engaging in other forms of transnational activities might potentially have more of an impact on individuals with lower levels of education.


European integration, and particularly EU citizenship, have set up an extraordinary range of rights, enabling ordinary European citizens to benefit from participation in a wide and open European space, whether for economic and business reasons, leisure, tourism and consumption, or in terms of wider knowledge and interest in countries around the region. Grounded in the EU legal infrastructure, cross-border practices – in their plural and multidimensional manifestations – shape the everyday lives of Europeans on a much larger scale than has been recognised so far. On top of this, the process of European integration goes hand in hand with globalization and leads to enhanced relations among individuals that obliterate national boundaries. While we cannot track the evolution of such cross-border activities over time, which may be a crucial test of the presumed growing interpenetration of European societies, however EUCROSS documents the current spread and forms of these individual cross-border activities. The picture of transnational activities in Europe is nuanced and reveals that social actors can carve a variety of strategies to adjust their individual lives to the debordering of European societies.

Potential Impact:
The EUCROSS project was set up to deepen empirically-based knowledge of the relationship between cross-border practices and supra-national identities in the EU. Its actual and potential impact goes in three directions: scientific, socio-cultural and policy-oriented.

In the scientific domain, EUCROSS has already advanced the state of the art in research on the dimensions of European identification and their grounding in everyday life especially through cross-border practices. Presentations in academic conferences and invitations to speak about the project rationale and results at different events and audiences (see dissemination lists below) attest of the far-reaching international attention on EUCROSS. Besides the activities and publications of the research consortium and the website, Advisory Board members have also contributed to ‘spread the word’ about EUCROSS.

The project is indeed topical for scholars in diverse research fields and social science disciplines:

• Research on the social impact of globalisation and European integration, and particularly on ‘de-nationalization’ and ‘re-nationalization’ processes;
• Research on European identity and cosmopolitanism in a sociological sense, and particularly on the operationalization of both concepts as well as on their determinants and correlates;
• Research on migrants’ integration in Europe, and particularly on the transnationalism and identities of intra-EU movers compared to third-country nationals.

Scientifically, EUCROSS has advanced research on diversities and commonalities in social practices by analysing cross-border interactions in Europe beyond the conventional distinction between stayers, EU movers and third-country migrants. The encompassing perspective of the project highlights that ‘transnationalism’ is a feature of many Europeans’ lives, and that its modalities enter the everyday life of a majority of EU residents. ‘Social transnationalism’ has been shown to be a generalized phenomenon, not circumscribed to migrant populations or elites. This also entails a wider range of consequences of EU citizenship than the use of free movement rights for intra-EU migration. EUCROSS has thus brought to the fore the existence and relevance of Europe-based transnationalism with unprecedented and systematic data.

Future publications from project team members can only enhance the already perceivable impact of EUCROSS. These include a number of articles already submitted to peer-reviewed journals by several members of the consortium, contributions to a special issue of the Revue Française de Science Politique, and a collective volume for which preliminary interest has been received by Palgrave Macmillan (not included in the deliverable lists as still in negotiations). Last but not least, the forthcoming availability of the huge amount of original datasets (the EUCROSS and EUMEAN surveys) generated by the project, which will be granted by the GESIS archive for the social sciences through its established data dissemination procedure, will engender a much larger exploitation of EUCROSS among a larger pool of researchers.

In the public sphere, EUCROSS has already nurtured – via its press releases, conferences, interviews – media attention in different outlets, at a time in which European integration was under the spotlight mostly in a critical if not derogatory way. The consortium also involved ECAS (European Citizens’ Action Service, a Brussels-based NGO) in the organization of the Final Conference in Brussels (June 25, 2014). ECAS circulated information on the project through its mailing list of stake-holder organizations, social partners and civil society actors. Substantially, knowledge of the project main findings and rationale can contribute to a greater awareness among citizens of the existing link between EU politics, citizenship rights and concrete life opportunities at a transnational level.

In the policy-making domain, the project may trigger a higher sensitivity to the everyday facets of European integration. In different occasions (including two policy briefs and a EC-dedicated workshop in Brussels on May 20, 2014), the consortium highlighted the usefulness of infusing a stronger emphasis on citizenship-based outcomes, and particularly cross-border facilities and opportunities, in the communication strategy of European institutions, complementing (or even supplementing) the stress on European cultural specificities – a perhaps too intellectualistic approach to identity.

EUCROSS offers data to policy-makers wishing to ground their interventions in a more solid foundation of the mechanisms of identification with Europe. Beyond the conventional ‘cultural marketing’ of the EU, EUCROSS suggests that the promotion of ‘mundane’ European practices (via EU citizenship and cross-border experiences) is an effective way of fostering European identity and the legitimacy of the EU. To reorient communication to EU-wide freedoms and opportunities, and only indirectly European identity, may also have the advantage of targeting simultaneously culturally diverse audiences and being therefore more inclusive in scope and scale.

Bearing this in mind, project findings warn us that:
- there is no single catch-all ‘killing application’ (i.e. cross-border experience) to the enhancement of the sense of European belonging. Cross-border opportunities are tailor-made ‘à la carte’ according to individual interests and orientations, and these lead to a greater sensitivity to ‘Europe’.
- It is not so much self-declared European identification but rather European solidarity that is empirically associated with (and possibly determined by) transnational behaviours and relations.
- Cross-border practices are indeed related to supra-national attachments, but are more often declined in the form of cosmopolitanism than Europeanism. Indirectly, thus, basic normative values that are foundational of the EU emerge out of the transnationalization of social life, but not necessarily with an EU label on it.
- Cross-border activities are found to be particularly helpful for corroborating cosmopolitanism among the less educated and less affluent EU citizens, who could then be targeted by mobility-facilitating policies (e.g. training grants in other EU member states and alike).

EUCROSS elaborations and results are presented in the following project’s outputs downloadable at the link and available to open access in the SSOAR - the Social Science Open Access Repository operated by GESIS -

EUCROSS Final Report

EUCROSS Working Papers
#1: ‘State of the art report’
#2: ‘Operationalisation document’
#3: ‘Transnational Practices and European Identity: from Theoretical to Policy Issues’
#4: ‘Measuring Transnational Behaviours and Identities’
#5: ‘Navigating the European Space: Physical and Virtual Forms of Cross-Borders Mobility among EU Citizens’
#6: ‘Europeanisation and Globalisation’
#7: ‘Cross-Border Activities and Transnational Identification of Turkish Migrants in Europe’
#8: 'Romanians’ Social Transnationalism in the Making'

Policy Briefs
'Are Cross-Border Practices a Threat to Democratic Participation among EU Citizens?'
'Winners and Losers? Citizens and Sceptics? European Integration and the Spread of Cosmopolitanism'

Press Releases
June 2014
September 2013
March 2012

List of Websites: