Antecedents of leaving the European Union: The role of nostalgia and attitudes towards diversity in Spain, Italy, and Greece Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2021

start page

  • 407

end page

  • 429


  • 4


  • 26

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1362-9395


  • This study analyzes public attitudes towards Euroscepticism in three Mediterranean countries: Spain, Italy and Greece. Specifically, drawing upon cultural backlash theory, we investigate how the general feeling of nostalgia and the rejection of neoliberal values like social and cultural diversity affect citizens Eurosceptic attitudes and thus their willingness to leave the European Union. Based on survey data from the Pew Research Centre, we first find that attitudes towards ethnic, religious and racial diversity predict citizens willingness to leave the European Union in Spain and Italy, but not in Greece, whereas citizens with higher levels of nostalgia are more prone to leave the European Union in Spain and Greece, but not in Italy. Finally, attitudes towards diversity are explored as a moderator over the relationship between citizens" perceptions of their country economic situation and Eurosceptic attitudes. This article contributes to current discussions on Euroscepticism, arguing that cultural backlash theory might play a crucial role in accounting for citizens cultural and political attitudes towards the EU.


  • european integration; euroscepticism; cultural backlash; southern europe; public attitude; mediterranean region