This chapter is the last of four on the question of legitimacy in the EU, and deals with policy performance, which has already been shown to be important for the legitimacy of EU institutions. The theme is expanded here, examining evidence on how citizens judge the impact of the EU (i.e. the public perceptions of the benefits of EU policy outputs), and asking how these evaluations can be explained. Simple models of EU policy satisfaction, which include both ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ objective economic effects and perceptions of improvements in national economies, are presented. The overall findings are that national differences in satisfaction are strong and enduring although fluctuating, and that much of this variation can be explained by economic factors, most notably unemployment. The concluding section of the chapter considers the implications of the findings for the legitimacy of the EU.
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