Abstract: The 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections took place in a very particular environment. Economic crisis, bailout packages, and austerity measures were central on the agenda in many Southern countries while open borders and intra-EU migration gained high salience elsewhere in the Union. A strong decline of political trust in European and national institutions was alarming. At the same time, the nomination and campaigning of “Spitzenkandidaten”, lead candidates of EP political groups for European Commission (EC) presidency, was meant to establish a new linkage between European Parliament elections and the (s)election of the president of the Commission. All of this might have changed the very nature of EP elections as second-order national elections. In this paper, we try to shed light on this by analysing aggregate election results, both at the country-level and at the party-level and compare them with the results of the preceding first-order national election in each EU member country. Our results suggest that the ongoing politicisation of EU politics had little impact on the second-order nature of European Parliament elections.
Keywords: economic crisis; EU policy scope; European Parliament elections; migration; second-order national elections