Center for European Studies

2021 CefES-JRC Webinar Series


Can external threats foster a European Union identity? Evidence from Russia’s invasion in Ukraine



#CefESwebinar2021: by Kai Gehring (University of Bern)
Date & Location

Monday 29 November 2021, 5pm (CET)

Virtual Meeting (Zoom)


Kai Gehring (University of Bern)

Kai Gehring presents his latest paper about the effect of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine on European Union identity.

Can external threats strengthen group identities? A growing economics literature emphasizes the importance of cultural attributes such as identity for trust and cooperation. However, where these attributes come from is not well-understood. This paper examines reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, looking at European Union member states. Comparing low-versus high-threat states in a difference-in-differences design, I find a sizable and persistent positive effect on EU identity. It is associated with higher trust in EU institutions and support for common policies. Lower-level identities remain unaffected and distance to Russia and Russian minority size are driving high-threat status.

CefES and the European Commission – Joint Research Centre are proud to carry on this initiative with the aim of connecting scholars working on European issues all over the world and to strengthen their cooperation, particularly in this period of high human, social, economic and political distress.