Eurosceptic
   HOME

TheInfoList



Euroscepticism, also spelled as Euroskepticism or EU-scepticism, means criticism of the (EU) and . It ranges from those who oppose some and policies, and seek reform (''Eurorealism'', ''Eurocritical'', or '), to those who oppose and see the EU as unreformable (''anti-European Unionism'', ''anti-EUism'', or '). The opposite of Euroscepticism is known as ', or ''European Unionism''. The main drivers of Euroscepticism have been beliefs that integration undermines national and the ,''Euroscepticism or Europhobia: Voice vs Exit?''
. November 2014. pp.4–6
Alibert, Juliette
''Euroscepticism: The root causes and how to address them''
. October 2015.
that the EU is and and , that it is too and wasteful, that it encourages high levels of , or perceptions that it is a organisation serving the elite at the expense of the ,John FitzGibbon, Benjamin Leruth, Nick Startin (editors). ''Euroscepticism as a Transnational and Pan-European Phenomenon''. Taylor & Francis, 2016. p.133 being responsible for and driving .
"The left must put Britain's EU withdrawal on the agenda"
', 14 July 2015.
Euroscepticism is found in groups across the , both and , and is often found in parties. Although they criticise the EU for many of the same reasons, Eurosceptic focus more on economic issues, such as the and the , while Eurosceptic focus more on nationalism and immigration, such as the . The rise in parties since the 2000s is strongly linked to a rise in Euroscepticism. surveys of EU citizens show that trust in the EU and its institutions has declined strongly since a peak in 2007. Since then, it has been consistently below 50%. A 2009 survey showed that support for EU membership was lowest in the (UK), , and . By 2016, the countries viewing the EU most unfavourably were the UK, , , and . The resulted in a 51.9% vote in favour of leaving the EU (), a decision that came into effect on 31 January 2020. Since 2015, trust in the EU has risen slightly in most EU countries as a result of falling unemployment rates and accelerating economic growth. Post-2019 election survey Eurobarometer report showed that 68% of citizens support the EU, the highest level since 1983; at the same time, sentiment among Europeans that things are not going in the right direction in both the EU and in their own countries had increased to 50%.


Reasoning

The main reasons for Euroscepticism include beliefs that: * integration undermines national and the ; * the EU is and and ; * the EU is too and wasteful; * it encourages high levels of ; * it is a organisation serving the elite at the expense of the * the EU is responsible for ; * the EU is responsible for driving .


Terminology

There can be considered to be several different types of Eurosceptic thought, which differ in the extent to which adherents reject integration between member states of the and in their reasons for doing so. Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart described two of these as hard and soft Euroscepticism.Harmsen et al (2005), p. 18.Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 7 At the same time, some scholars have said that there is no clear line between the presumed hard and soft Euroscepticism. and Petr Kopecky have said that if the demarcation line is the number of and which policies a party opposes, then the question arises of how many must a party oppose and which ones should a party oppose that makes them hard Eurosceptic instead of soft.


Hard Euroscepticism

According to Taggart and Szczerbiak, hard Euroscepticism or anti-EU-ism is "a principled opposition to the EU and European integration and therefore can be seen in parties who think that their countries should withdraw from membership, or whose policies towards the EU are tantamount to being opposed to the whole project of European integration as it is currently conceived." The group in the , typified by such parties as the and (UKIP), displays hard Euroscepticism. In western European EU member countries, hard Euroscepticism is currently a characteristic of many parties. Some hard Eurosceptics prefer to call themselves "Eurorealists" rather than "sceptics", and regard their position as pragmatic rather than in principle. Additionally, , a left-wing MP who fought against in 1975 by opposing membership of the in , emphasised his opposition to and his support of , saying: "My view about the European Union has always been not that I am hostile to foreigners, but that I am in favour of democracy. ... I think they're building an empire there, they want us to be a part of their empire and I don't want that." The Czech president rejected the term ''Euroscepticism'' for its purported negative undertones, saying at a meeting in April 2012 that the expressions for a Eurosceptic and their opponent should be "a Euro-realist" and someone who is "Euro-naïve", respectively. of the French has criticised the use of the term 'sceptic' to describe hard Eurosceptics, and would rather advocate the use of the term "Euro opponent".
"« Européens convaincus » contre « Eurosceptiques » : Le retour de la Sainte Inquisition"
, ', 16 December 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
He believes the use of the term 'sceptic' for soft Eurosceptics to be correct, since other Eurosceptic parties in France are "merely criticising" the EU without taking into account the fact that the can only be modified with a unanimous agreement of all the EU member states, something he considers impossible to achieve.


Soft Euroscepticism

The group, typified by centre-right parties such as Czech , and the , which is an alliance of the left-wing parties in the European Parliament, display soft Euroscepticism. It reflects a support for the existence of, and membership of, a form of EU but with opposition to specific EU policies, or in Taggart's and Szczerbiak's words, "where there is NOT a principled objection to European integration or EU membership but where concerns on one (or a number) of policy areas lead to the expression of qualified opposition to the EU, or where there is a sense that 'national interest' is currently at odds with the EU's trajectory."


Anti-Europeanism

While having some overlaps, Euroscepticism and are different. Euroscepticism is criticism of the (EU) and . Anti-Europeanism is sentiment or policies in opposition to . For example, in the United StatesAnti-Europeanism and Euroscepticism in the United States
Patrick Chamorel No 25, EUI-RSCAS Working Papers from European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) 2004
has long led to criticism of European , such as the size of the in European countries, and , such as European countries that did not support the US-led ,.


Other terms

Some scholars consider the gradual difference in terminology between hard and soft Euroscepticism inadequate to accommodate the large differences in terms of political agenda; ''hard Euroscepticism'' has also been referred to as ''Europhobia'' as opposed to mere ''Euroscepticism''. Other alternative names for hard and soft Euroscepticism include ''withdrawalist'' and ''reformist'', respectively.


Eurobarometer surveys

A survey in , conducted by Opinion and Social on behalf of the , showed that, across the EU as a whole, those with a positive image of the EU were down from a high of 52% in 2007 to 37% in autumn 2015; this compares with 23% with a negative image of the EU, and 38% with a neutral image. About 43% of Europeans thought things were "going in the wrong direction" in the EU, compared with 23% who thought things were going "in the right direction" (11% "don't know"). About 32% of EU citizens tend to trust the EU as an institution, and about 55% do not tend to trust it (13% "don't know"). Distrust of the EU was highest in (81%), (72%), (65%), (65%), the (UK) and the (both 63%). Overall, more respondents distrusted their own government (66%) than they distrusted the EU (55%). Distrust of national government was highest in Greece (82%), (80%), (79%), Cyprus (76%), and France (76%). A Eurobarometer survey carried out four days prior to and six days after the revealed that the surprise victory of caused an increase in the popularity of the EU in Europe. The increase was strongest among the political right and among respondents who perceived their country as economically struggling. A survey carried out in April 2018 for the European Parliament by Kantar Public consulting found that support for the EU was "the highest score ever measured since 1983". Support for the EU was up in 26 out of 28 EU countries, the exceptions being Germany and the UK, where support had dropped by about 2% since the previous survey. Almost half (48%) of the 27,601 EU citizens surveyed agreed that their voice counted in the EU, up from 37% in 2016, whereas 46% disagreed with this statement. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents felt that their country had benefited from EU membership and 60% said that being part of the bloc was a good thing, as opposed to 12% who felt the opposite. At the height of the EU's financial and economic crises in 2011, just 47% had been of the view that EU membership was a good thing. Support for EU membership was greatest in (93%), (91%), (90%), (88%), (88%), (86%), and (84%), and lowest in (57%), (57%), (56%), (54%), the (53%), and (44%). When asked which issues should be a priority for the European Parliament, survey respondents picked terrorism as the most pressing topic of discussion, ahead of youth unemployment and immigration. Not all countries shared the same priorities. Immigration topped the list in Italy (66% of citizens surveyed considered it a priority issue), Malta (65%), and (62%) but fighting youth unemployment and support for economic growth were top concerns in , Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and . Social protection of citizens was the top concern for Dutch, Swedish, and Danish respondents. The April 2019 Eurobarometer showed that despite the challenges of the past years, and in cases such as the ongoing debate surrounding Brexit, possibly even because of it, the European sense of togetherness had not weakened, with 68% of respondents across the EU27 believing that their countries have benefited from being part of the EU, a historically high level since 1983. On the other hand, more Europeans (27%) were uncertain and saw the EU as "neither a good thing nor a bad thing", an increase in 19 countries. Despite the overall positive attitude towards the EU but in line with the uncertainty expressed by a growing number of Europeans, the feeling that things were not going in the right direction in both the EU and in their own countries had increased to 50% on EU average since September 2018.


History in the European Parliament


1999–2004

A study analysed voting records of the Fifth European Parliament and ranked groups, concluding: "Towards the top of the figure are the more pro-European parties (PES, EPP-ED, and ALDE), whereas towards the bottom of the figure are the more anti-European parties (EUL/NGL, G/EFA, UEN and EDD)."


2004–2009

In 2004, 37 (MEPs) from the UK, , and founded a new European Parliament group called "" from the old (EDD) group. The main goal of the ID group was to reject the proposed . Some delegations within the group, notably that from UKIP, also advocated the complete withdrawal of their country from the EU, while others only wished to limit further European integration.


2009 elections

The saw a significant fall in support in some areas for Eurosceptic parties, with all such MEPs from Poland, Denmark and Sweden losing their seats. In the UK, the Eurosceptic UKIP achieved second place in the election, finishing ahead of the governing Labour Party, and the (BNP) won its first-ever two MEPs. Although new members joined the ID group from Greece and the , it was unclear whether the group would reform in the new parliament. The ID group did reform, as the (EFD) and is represented by 32 MEPs from nine countries.


2014 elections

The saw a big anti-establishment vote in favour of Eurosceptic parties, which took around a quarter of the seats available. Those that came first their national elections included: UKIP in the UK (the first time since 1906 that a party other than Labour or the Conservatives had won a national vote), the in France, the in Denmark and in Greece. Second places were taken by in Ireland and the in Italy. , the , agreed following the election to re-evaluate the economic area's agenda and to launch consultations on future policy areas with the 28 member states.


2019 elections

The saw the centre-left and centre-right parties suffer significant losses including losing their overall majority, while , liberal, and some Eurosceptic right wing parties saw significant gains. Those that came first in their national elections included: the in the UK (which was only launched on 12 April 2019 by former UKIP leader ), the of France (formerly the National Front party until June 2018), in Hungary, in Italy, and in Poland. There were also notable falls in support for the (previously topped the 2014 European election). Whilst got elected with 3 seats, Spain's first Eurosceptic party and Belgium's rallied to gain second place after its poor 2014 result.


In EU member states


Austria

The , established in 1956, is a right-wing populist party that mainly attracts support from young people and workers. In 1989, it changed its stance over the EU to Euroscepticism. It opposed Austria joining the EU in 1994, and opposed the introduction of the in 1998. The party would like to leave the EU if it threatens to develop into , or if joins. The FPÖ received 20–27% of the national vote in the 1990s, and more recently received 17.5% in 2008. Following the , it has 51/183 National Council seats, 16/62 Federal Council seats, and 4/19 European Parliament seats. The (BZÖ), established in 2005, is a socially conservative party that has always held Eurosceptic elements. In 2011 the party openly supported leaving the , and in 2012 it announced that it supported a full withdrawal from the European Union. The party has also called upon a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In polls it currently receives around 10%–15%, although in one state it did receive 45% of the vote in 2009. Since the 2017 election, it has 0/183 National Council seats, 0/62 Federal Council seats, and 0/19 European Parliament seats. , established in 2012, has campaigned to reform the European Union, as well as to replace the euro with an Austrian Euro. In 2012, it regularly received 8–10% support in national polls. Politicians from many different parties (including the Social Democratic Party and the BZÖ) as well as previous independents switched their allegiances to the new party upon creation. In two local elections in March 2013, it won 11% of the vote in , and 10% of the vote in . It dissolved in 2017 , a former member of FPÖ (and later of BZÖ) was very Eurosceptic, but in 2011 became a member of the European Parliament due to the Lisbon Treaty. Before Stadler accepted the seat, this led to heavy critics by Jörg Leichtfried (SPÖ) "Stadler wants to just rescue his political career" because Stadler before mentioned he would never accept a seat as MEP if this was only due to the Lisbon Treaty. On 23 December 2013 he founded a conservative and Eurosceptic party called , although it has been inactive since June 2016. In the , the FPÖ increased its vote to 19.72% (up 7.01%), gaining 2 new MEPs, making a total of 4; the party came third, behind the ÖVP and the SPÖ. EU-STOP (the electoral alliance of the and the ) polled 2.76%, gaining no seats, and the 1.18%, with Team Stronach putting up no candidates. In the , the FPÖ came 3rd with 17.2% of the vote which was only slightly down on 2014 despite a scandal allegedly promising public contracts to a woman posing as a Russian backer. This precipitated the collapse of the ruling coalition and a new election being called.


Belgium

According to , in the fall of 2018, 44% of Belgium people stated that they did not trust the . The main Eurosceptic party in is which is active in the part of Belgium. In the , Belgium's Vlaams Belang lost over half of its previous vote share, polling 4.26% (down 5.59%) and losing 1 of its 2 members of the European Parliament. Despite the presence of Eurosceptic parties in Belgium, their weight is relatively low, as Belgium is predominantly . In 2019, Vlaams Belang stated in its program for the that it opposes the creation of a European state, would like to change the , and to end the , and refuses the accession of to the EU. More widely, the euro-sceptic arguments of the Vlaams Belang are based on four pillars: # loss of (for instance on economic sovereignty or on the binding legal order); # the financial cost of the ; # less competences for ; # leaving the (even though in 2019 the party has changed its line and now wants to reform the euro). During the , Vlaams Belang made substantial gains in both and polled in second place in Flemish region. At the beginning of 2019, the party was enrolled in the group of in the . The (N-VA) is a soft Eurosceptic party in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium. Before 2010, the N-VA was and supported the idea of a democratic European confederation, but has since altered this policy to a more sceptical stance on further European integration and now calls for more democratic transparency within the EU, changes to the EU's common asylum policy and economic reforms to the . The N-VA has obtained 26.83% of the votes or 4 seats of the Dutch-language college out of 12 (21 MEPs for Belgium) in the . In April 2019, it stood in of the European Parliament, and can be considered a moderate Eurosceptic party. In the French-speaking part of Belgium (), there are four Eurosceptic parties. The first one is , a far-right party which was a member of the in the European Parliament. The second one is , also a far right party which criticizes the European bureaucracy, intends to guarantee and preserve national independence and freedom in a liberated Europe; it also reaffirms the Christian roots of Europe. The third one is the , classified as right or extreme right. In its program for the European election of 2019 the People's Party proposes to abolish the , reduce the number of European parliamentarians and fight against the worker-posted directive. For this party, the EU must be led by a president elected by with clear but limited competences. It also wants to renegotiate the European Union treaties, restrict the of the . It declares itself against the . The last one is the . In early 2019, the party aims to reduce the powers of the European Commission, to abolish the , to abandon common defense projects, to simplify the exit procedure of the , to reject and to forbid the European Union to direct economic, fiscal or social policy, Finally, the is an electoral and unitary party. It also intends to revise the European treaties considered too liberal. One of the Party's currencies is "The left that stings, against the Europe of money".


Bulgaria

Parties with mainly Eurosceptic views are , , and , which is a member of the Eurosceptic ). Bulgaria's Minister of Finance, , stated in 2011 that ERM II membership to enter the Euro zone would be postponed until after the had stabilised. In the Bulgaria remained overwhelmingly pro-EU, with the Eurosceptic Attack party receiving 2.96% of the vote, down 9%, with the splinter group taking 3.05%; neither party secured any MEPs. A coalition between and secured an MEP position for from IMRO, who is a soft Eurosceptic. Followers of Eurosceptic Attack tore down and trampled the on 3 March 2016 at a meeting of the party in the Bulgarian capital , dedicated to the commemoration of the 138th anniversary of the from the . In the , Bulgaria remained overwhelmingly pro-EU with the ruling centre-right Gerb party winning with 30.6%, against 26% for the socialist BSP.


Croatia

Parties with Eurosceptic views are mainly small right-wing parties like , , , , and . The only that is vocally Eurosceptic is the that won 5 out of 151 seats at the ,. Their position is generally considered to waver between hard and soft Euroscepticism; it requests thorough reform of the EU so that all member states would be perfectly equal. In the , the Human Shield gained its first seat in the European Parliament with 5.7% of the vote putting it in 5th place.


Cyprus

Parties with mainly Eurosceptic views in Cyprus are the and . In the , there was little change politically - the conservatives won narrowly, the ruling DISY taking two seats with 29%, followed by socialist AKEL (27.5%, two seats) with no seats taken by Eurosceptic parties.


Czech Republic

In May 2010, the Czech president said that they "needn't hurry to enter the Eurozone". , an economist, a close associate of president Václav Klaus and a member of the between 1997 and 2007, founded the in 2009. The party aims to mainly attract dissatisfied Civic Democratic Party voters. At the time of the , they were actively campaigning against it, supported by the president Vaclav Klaus, who demanded opt-outs such as were granted to the United Kingdom and Poland, unlike the governing Civic Democratic Party, who endorsed it in the . After the treaty has been ratified, Mach's party is in favour of withdrawing from the European Union completely. In the , the Free Citizens Party won one mandate and allied with UKIP in the (EFD). The brought into Parliament two soft eurosceptic parties: centre-right (ODS) (11%) and far-left (KSČM) (8%). And one hard eurosceptic party, far-right (SPD) (11%). An April 2016 survey by the CVVM Institute indicated that 25% of Czechs were satisfied with EU membership, down from 32% the previous year. Dividends worth CZK 270 billion were paid to the of Czech companies in 2017, which has become a political issue in the Czech Republic. In the , the Civic Democratic Party saw its vote share rise to 14.5% and its seats doubled from 2 to 4. The Freedom and Direct Democracy party took 2 seats with 9.14% of the vote. KSČM dropped 2 seats leaving it with only one and a vote share of 6.9%


Denmark

The only takes part in European Parliament elections and has one member in the European Parliament. The soft Eurosceptic , originally a split-off from the People's Movement against the EU, existed from 1992 to 2009. In the Danish , the has withdrawal from the EU as a policy. The also advocates withdrawal, but says it supports some EU structures such as the , and supported the EU-positive between 2001 and 2011 and again from 2015 to 2019. The , minorities within the and , and some smaller parties were against accession to the European Union in 1972. Still in 1986, these parties advocated a no vote in the . Later, the Social Liberal Party changed to a strongly EU-positive party, and EU opposition within the Social Democratic Party faded. The Socialist People's Party were against the in 1998 and in 2000, but has become increasingly EU-positive, for example when MEP left the and joined in 2004. In the , the came first by a large margin with 26.6% of the vote, gaining 2 extra seats for a total of 4 MEPs. The polled 8.1%, retaining its single MEP. In the , the lost around two-thirds of their previous vote share dropping from 4 seats to just 1. The lost their seat and the got one seat. The saw the emergence of a new hard Eurosceptic party which supports Denmark leaving the EU. The party won four seats in parliament.


Estonia

The and were against accession to the EU, but only the Independence Party still wants Estonia to withdraw from the EU. The (EKRE) also has some Eurosceptic policies and increased its vote share from 4% in 2014 to 12.7% in the 2019 European Elections winning one seat.


Finland

The largest Eurosceptic party in Finland is the . In the , the Finns Party increased their vote share by 3.1% to 12.9%, adding a second MEP. With their 39 seats, the Finns Party are also the second-biggest party in the 200-seat Finnish . In Eurobarometer 77 (fieldwork in Spring 2012), 41% of Finns trusted the European Union (EU-27 average: 31%), 51% trusted The European Parliament (EU-27average: 40%), and 74% were in favour of the euro currency (EU-27 average: 52%). In the , the Finns Party increased their vote share slightly from 12.9% to 13.8% and retained their 2 seats.


France

In France there are multiple parties that are Eurosceptic to different degrees, varying from advocating less EU intervention in national affairs, to advocating outright withdrawal from the EU and the Eurozone. These parties belong to all sides of the political spectrum, so the reasons for their Euroscepticism may differ. In the past many French people appeared to be uninterested in such matters, with only 40% of the French electorate voting in the . Right-wing Eurosceptic parties include the , and ', which was part of , a pan-European Eurosceptic party. In the , Debout la République received 1.77% of the national vote, and Libertas 4.8%. In a similar way to some moderate parties, the French right and far-right in general are naturally opposed to the EU, as they criticise France's loss of political and economic sovereignty to a entity. Some of these hard Eurosceptic parties include the and formerly the (FN). Popular Republican Union seek France's withdrawal from the EU and the euro as well as France's withdrawal from NATO. The FN received 33.9% of the votes in the , making it the largest Eurosceptic party in France. In June 2018, the National Front was renamed as National Rally (RN) and in 2019 dropped support for France leaving the European Union and the Eurozone from its manifesto, instead calling for "reform from within" the union. Eurosceptic parties on the left in France tend to criticise what they see as the agenda of the EU, as well as the elements of its structure which are undemocatic and seen as top-down. These parties include the and the , which formed the for the 2009 European Parliament elections and received 6.3% of the votes. The leader of the defends a complete reform of the Monetary Union, rather than the withdrawal of France from the . Some of the major far-left Eurosceptic parties in France include the which received 4.8% and which received 1.2%. The , a left-wing Eurosceptic and party, have not participated in any elections for the European Parliament. The party , is an Eurosceptic party that says it is neither left nor right. In the , the won the elections with 24.85% of the vote, a swing of 18.55%, winning 24 seats, up from 3 previously. The former French President had called for the EU to be reformed and for a scaling back of its power. In the , the renamed won the elections with 23.31% of the vote, winning 22 seats, down from 23 previously when their vote share was 24.86%.


Germany

The (AfD) is Germany's largest Eurosceptic party. It was elected into the with 94 seats in September 2017. Initially the AfD was a soft Eurosceptic party, that considered itself pro-Europe and pro-EU, but opposed the euro, which it believed had undermined European integration, and called for reforms to the . In the , the Alternative for Germany came 5th with 7% of the vote, winning 7 seats and is a member of the Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists. The Alternative for Germany went on to take seats in three state legislatures in the Autumn of 2014. The party became purely Eurosceptic in 2015, when an internal split occurred, leading to 's leadership and a more hard-line approach to the European Union, including its calling for an end for German membership, withdrawal from EU common asylum policies and significantly reducing the power of the EU with some AfD members supporting a complete exit from the EU altogether. In July 2015 an AfD splinter group created a new soft Eurosceptic party called . In the , the Alternative for Germany increased their vote share from 7.04% and 7 seats to 10.79% and 11 seats.


Greece

, (KKE), , , , , and have been the main Eurosceptic parties in Greece. According to the , Greece used to be the second most Eurosceptic country in the European Union, with 50% of Greeks thinking that their country has not benefited at all from the EU (only behind the UK). Meanwhile, 33% of Greeks viewed Greek membership in EU as a good thing, marginally ahead of the UK. 81% of Greeks felt that the EU was going in the wrong direction. These figures represented a major increase in Euroscepticism in Greece since 2009. In June 2012, the Eurosceptic parties in Greece that were represented in the parliament before the Election in January 2015 (ANEL, Golden Dawn, KKE) got 45.8% of the votes and 40.3% of the seats in the parliament. In the the (left and right-wing) parties (, , , , and -) got 43.28% of the votes. The Eurosceptic parties got 54.64%. The Eurosceptic left (, and /) got 42.58% of the votes and the Eurosceptic right (, and ) got 12.06% of the votes, with Syriza ahead with 36.34%. The Eurosceptic parties got 194 seats in the new parliament and the pro-EU parties got 106 seats. According to the (12 polls), the Eurosceptic left would get on average 48.03% (excluding extraparliamentary parties as ANTARSYA-MARS and KKE (m–l)/ML-KKE), the parliamentary pro-EU parties (Potami, New Democracy and PASOK) would get 33.82%, the extra-parliamentary (not represented in the Hellenic Parliament) pro-EU parties (KIDISO and EK) would get 4.44% and the Eurosceptic right would get 10.2% (excluding extraparliamentary parties, such as , not displayed on recent opinion polls). The soft Eurosceptic parties would get 42.31%, the hard Eurosceptic parties (including , and ) would get 15.85%, and the pro-EU parties (including extra-parliamentary parties displayed on opinion polls) would get 38.27% of the votes. In the , won the election with 26.58% of the vote (a swing of 21.88%) taking 6 seats (up 5), with coming 3rd taking 3 seats, the taking 2 seats and the gaining their first ever seat. Syriza's leader Tsipras said he's not anti-European and does not want to leave the euro. According to ', Tsipras is willing to negotiate with Greece's European partners, and it is believed a Syriza victory could encourage radical leftist parties across Europe. Alexis Tsipras vowed to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted by Greece since a series of bailouts began in 2010, at odds with the Eurogroup's positions. The government coalition in Greece was composed by Syriza and (right-wing hard Eurosceptic party, led by , who is the current Minister of Defence). Euroscepticism has softened in Greece as the economy improved. According to a research in early 2018, 68% of Greeks judge as positive the participation of Greece in the EU (instead of 53.5% in 2017). In the , the New Democracy movement, beat the ruling left-wing Syriza formation with 33.12% and 23.76% of the vote respectively, maintaining Syriza's 6 seats and prompting the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call a on 7 July 2019. In this election, which was won by ND, the pro-European parties (ND, SYRIZA, KINAL, MeRA25, and the extra-parliamentary Union of Centrists and Recreate Greece) got 84.9% of the vote and the Eurosceptic parties (KKE, Greek Solution, the extraparliamentary Golden Dawn and a host of other small mainly left-wing parties) got 15.1%. That drastic change in the balance is mostly the result of SYRIZA abandoning Euroscepticism.


Hungary

is the soft Eurosceptic for the national-conservative Party. Another Eurosceptic party that was present in Hungary was , which until around 2016, it was identified as a and party. Those far-right factions, who left Jobbik, they decided to form the party. In Hungary 39% of the population have a positive image of the EU, 20% have a negative image, and 40% neutral (1% "Don't know"). In the , Fidesz got 44.54% of the votes, Jobbik got 20.54% of the votes and the communist got 0.58% of the votes. Thus at the time, Eurosceptic parties in Hungary obtained 65.66% of the votes, one of the highest figures in Europe. The green-liberal (Lehet Más a Politika, LMP) classifies as a soft or reformist Eurosceptic party given its self-professed ''euro-critical'' stance. During the party Co-President described LMP as having a pronounced pro-integration position on , wage and policy as supporting member state autonomy on the self-determination of local communities concerning land resources. So as to combat the differentiated integration of the which discriminates against Eastern and Southern member states, LMP would like to initiate an within the union. In the , Fidesz consolidated their position by increasing their vote share to 51.48% and adding a seat to take their tally to 13. Former Eurosceptic (now pro-European) Jobbik dropped to 6.34% of the votes, losing 2 of its 3 seats. The , a newly created pro-European party, came 3rd with 9.93% of the vote, with the strongly pro-European coming second with 16.05% of the vote. got to 3.31% of the votes, gaining no seats.


Ireland

Euroscepticism is a minority view in , with opinion polls from 2016 to 2018 indicating growing support for EU membership, moving from 70% to 92% in that time. The initially voted against ratifying the Nice and Lisbon Treaties. Following renegotiations, second referendums on both were passed with approximately 2:1 majorities in both cases. Some commentators and smaller political groups questioned the validity of the Irish Government's decision to call second referendums. The left-wing party expresses positions on the current structure of the European Union and the direction in which it is moving. The party expresses, "support for Europe-wide measures that promote and enhance human rights, equality and ", but has a "principled opposition" to a . In its manifesto for the , Sinn Féin pledged that the party would campaign for the UK to stay within the EU. In , won 3 seats coming second in seats and third in votes with 19.5% of the vote up 8.3%. The organisation, the , supports Ireland leaving the EU and supported the result. It argues that the European Union is institutionally capitalist and neoliberal. The Socialist Party campaigned against the Lisbon and Nice Treaties and favours the foundation of an alternative Socialist European Union.


Italy

The (M5S), an movement founded by comedian , originally set itself out as a Eurosceptic party. The M5S received 25.5% of vote in the , becoming the largest anti-establishment and Eurosceptic party in Europe. The party used to advocate a non-binding referendum on the withdrawal of Italy from the (but not from the European Union) and the return to the . Since then, the party has toned down its eurosceptic rhetoric and such policy was rejected in 2018, and the M5S's leader has since stated that the "European Union is the Five Star Movement's home", clarifying that the party wants Italy to stay in the EU, even though it remains critical of some of its treaties. The M5S's popular support is distributed all across Italy: in the the party won 32.7% of the popular vote nationwide, and was particularly successful in and . A party that retains a Eurosceptic identity is the (Lega), a movement led by favouring Italy's exit from the Eurozone and the re-introduction of the lira. When in government, Lega approved the . The party won 6.2% of the vote in the , but two of its leading members are presidents of and (where Lega gained 40.9% of the vote in ). In the the Five Star Movement came second, with 17 seats and 21.2% of the vote after contesting EP seats for the first time. Lega Nord had five seats and had three seats. Other minor Eurosceptic organizations include right-wing political parties (e.g., , , , , , , the ), far-left political parties (e.g., the of , the ) and other political movements (e.g., the Sovereignist Front, Italy). In addition, the European Union is criticized (especially for the and the creation of the ) by some left-wing thinkers, like the Giorgio Cremaschi and the journalist , and some , such as the economists and , the philosopher Diego Fusaro and the mathematician Marino Badiale. According to the Standard 87 conducted by the in spring 2017, 48% of Italians tend not to trust the compared to 36% of Italians who do. In the , the Italian Eurosceptic and right-wing, represented in large part by the League, increased its number of seats in the EP, but was not assigned any presidency in the . Despite its national political alliance with the League during the , the voted for , member of pro-EU , as . In July 2020, senator formed , a new political party with a main goal to withdraw Italy from the European Union.


Latvia

The (/), and are parties that are described by some political commentators as bearing soft Eurosceptic views. A small hard Eurosceptic party exists, but it has failed to gain any administrative seats throughout history of its existence.


Lithuania

The party had mainly Eurosceptic views.


Luxembourg

The is a soft Eurosceptic party. It is a member of the .


Malta

The Labour Party was not in favour of Malta entering the European Union. It was in favour of a partnership with the EU. After a long battle, the Nationalist Party led by Eddie Fenech Adami won the referendum and the following election, making Malta one of the states to enter the European Union on 1 May 2004. The party is now pro-European.


Netherlands

Historically, the Netherlands have been a very pro-European country, being one of the six founding members of the in 1952, and campaigning with much effort to include the United Kingdom into the Community in the 1970s and others after that. It has become slightly more Eurosceptic in the 2000s, and complaining about the relatively high financial investment into the Union or the democratic deficit amongst other issues. * The nationalist (founded in 2006) wants the Netherlands to leave the EU in its entirety, because it believes the EU is undemocratic, costs money and cannot close the borders for immigrants. * The conservative and right-wing populist party was originally founded by as a think tank to campaign against the . In 2016, the FvD was established as a fully fledged party. It is opposed to many of the policies of the and calls for a referendum on Dutch membership. * The believes the European Union has already brought Europe 50 years of peace and prosperity and argues that European co-operation is essential for tackling global problems like climate change and international crime. The SP opines that the current Union is dominated by the big businesses and the big countries, while the labour movement, consumer organisations and smaller companies are often left behind. "Neoliberal" measures have supposedly increased social inequality, and perhaps the Union is expanding too fast and taking on too much power in issues that should be dealt with on a national level. * The conservative Protestant and the favour co-operation within Europe, but reject a superstate, especially one that is dominated by Catholics, or that infringes on religious rights and/or privileges. * The pensioner's interest party is also moderately Eurosceptic. * The ecologist favours European co-operation, but believes the current EU does not respect animal rights enough and should have a more active policy on environment protection. A prominent former Eurosceptic party in the Netherlands was the (LPF) established by politician and academic in 2002. The party campaigned to reduce Dutch financial contributions to the EU, was against Turkish membership and opposed what it saw as the excessive bureaucracy and threat to national sovereignty posed by the EU. During the , the LPF polled in second place with 17% of the vote. Following the assassination of Fortuyn in the run-up to the election, support for the party declined soon after and it was disbanded in 2008 with many of is former supporters transferring to the . Despite these concerns, in 2014 the majority of the Dutch electorate continued to support parties that favour ongoing European integration: the , the , the , but most of all the . In 2016, a substantial majority in a low-turnout referendum rejected the ratification of an EU trade and association treaty with . In the , Eurosceptic parties had mixed results with ' losing all 4 of its seats taking only 3.53% of the vote. The new established in late 2016 took 10.96% of the vote and entered the European Parliament with 3 seats.


Poland

The main parties with Eurosceptic views are (PiS) and the . Former president of Poland resisted giving his signature on behalf of Poland to the , objecting specifically to the . Subsequently, Poland got an from this charter. As Polish President, Kaczyński also opposed the Polish government's intentions to join the . In 2015, it was reported that Euroscepticism was growing in Poland, which was thought to be due to the "economic crisis, concern over perceived interference from Brussels and migration". Polish president indicated that he wished for Poland to step back from further EU integration. He suggested that the country should "hold a referendum on joining the euro, resist further integration and fight the EU's green policies", despite getting the largest share of EU cash. In the , the Law and Justice party won the largest number of seats, with a vote share increase up from 31.78% to 45.38%, increasing its seats from 19 to 27.


Portugal

The main Eurosceptic parties in Portugal are (PNR), (PCP), and (BE). Opinion polling in Portugal in 2015 indicated that 48 per cent tended not to trust the EU, while 79 per cent tended not to trust the Portuguese government (then led by ). Eurosceptic political parties hold a combined total of 34 seats out of 230 in (BE 19, PCP 15, PNR 0) and a combined total of 4 out of Portugal's 21 seats in the European Parliament (PCP 3, BE 1, PNR 0). In the last , the won three seats and the won one seat. In the , took 9.83% and gained 1 seat, working in coalition with took 6.88% and 2 seats and (PNR) polled just 0.49%, with no seats. 2019 saw the emergence of a new Eurosceptic political party . The party did not capture any seats in the 2019 European Parliament elections, but saw its leader finish third in the , securing 11.9% of those voting.


Romania

Several parties espousing Eurosceptic views exist on the right, such as the , the and , but as of June 2020 none of these parties are represented in European Parliament. Euroscepticism is relatively unpopular in Romania; all mainstream political parties are pro-European and a 2015 survey found 65% of Romanians had a positive view of the country's EU membership. The Eurosceptic parties remained unrepresented in the .


Slovakia

Parties with primarily Eurosceptic views represented in the National Council are the , . Prominent Slovak Eurosceptic politicians include , , . In the , came 3rd securing 12.07% and winning their first 2 seats in the European Parliament. took just over 3% and no seats.


Slovenia

Parties with mainly Eurosceptic views are and . Neither won seats in the .


Spain

The process of Europeanization changed during the years in . In 1986 Spain entered in the . Since then, Spain has been one of the most Europeanist countries. Therefore, when Spain became part of the European Community, the country had a strong feeling, according to , as it reflected a 60% of the population. In Spain different reasons explain its entrance to the European Community. On the one hand, democracy has just been established in Spain after dictatorship. On the other hand, the main objectives of Spain were to achieve , and also a social modernization. Spain was one of the few countries to vote Yes for the European Constitution in a referendum in February 2005, though by a lower margin in and the In 2008, after the reached Spain, the percentage of pro European persons started to fall. Thus, during the five years of the economic crisis, the Eurobarometer shows how the trust in the EU increasingly fell in Spain, and the confidence of the Spanish citizens in the European Union decreased for more than 50 points. Spain became one of the most Eurosceptic countries among all European Union Members, as it happened in pretty much European countries, where nationalist and eurosceptic characterised parties became stronger. The historical two-parties system, composed by the conservative and the social-democratic , collapsed. In the 2000s, the liberal and leftist party became part of the political context, gaining electoral consensus, followed years later by party The new parties were the effect of the disaffection of most Spaniards towards politics and politicians, that increased for several reasons: firstly, at all political levels, reaching the too; secondly, recession intensified distrust of the population towards national government; thirdly, a phase of renovation of the which extended the distance between the National government and the Regional ones. , a left-wing to far-left political party with about 1,300 members advocates independence for outside of the European Union. Up to 2014 European elections, there were no Spanish parties present in the Eurosceptic groups at the European Parliament. In the , became the first left-wing Eurosceptic political party to win seats in the , obtaining 69 seats, and in the , became the first far-right Eurosceptic political party to win seats in the , obtaining 24 seats.


Sweden

The is against accession to the eurozone and previously wanted Sweden to leave the European Union until 2019. The nationalist and party support closer political, economic and military cooperation with neighboring Nordic and certain Northern European countries, but strongly oppose further EU integration and further transfers of Swedish sovereignty to the EU as a whole. The party is also against Swedish accession to the eurozone, the creation of a combined EU military budget and want to renegotiate Swedish membership of the . The , a Eurosceptic list consisting of members from both the political right and left won three seats in the 2004 Elections to the European Parliament and sat in the EU-critical in the European Parliament. The movement favours a withdrawal from the EU. Around 75% of the members represent parties that officially supports the Sweden membership. In the , the gained 2 seats with 9.67% of the vote, up 6.4%, and the took one seat with 6.3% of the vote. In the , the increased from 2 to 3 seats with 15.34% of the vote, up from 9.67%, and the retained its one seat with 6.8% of the vote. In winter 2019–2020, in connection with the request from "poor" member countries of much higher membership fees for "rich" member countries, for the reason of keeping support levels so "poor" countries wouldn't suffer from , where a "rich" country left the union in part due to high membership fees, a media and social media debate for a "Swexit" increased. This was still rejected by parties representing a majority of the parliament, with the quickly taking over the debate.


In other European countries


Armenia

represents the main Eurosceptic party in . Following the , the party gained 26 seats in the , becoming the official opposition. Following the , the party lost all political representation and currently acts as an extra-parliamentary force. The party is a member of the .


Bosnia and Herzegovina

The is a Bosnian Serb political party in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Founded in 1996, it is the governing party in Bosnia and Herzegovina's entity called , with its leader being .


Georgia

is the main Eurosceptic party in . The party supports a slight distancing of Georgia from the West, as well as rejecting the country's entrance into .


Iceland

The three main Eurosceptic parties in Iceland are the , and the . The Independence Party and the Progressive Party won the in April 2013 and they have halted the current negotiations with the European Union regarding Icelandic membership and tabled a parliamentary resolution on 21 February 2014 to withdraw the application completely. In 2017, Iceland's government announced that it would hold a vote in parliament on whether to hold a referendum on resuming EU membership negotiations. In November 2017 that government was replaced by a coalition of the Independence Party, the Left Green Movement and the Progressive Party; all of whom oppose membership. Only 11 out of 63 MPs are in favour of EU membership.


Moldova

The two main Eurosceptic parties in Moldova are the left-wing , which officially declared its main purpose to be the integration of Moldova in the and the , even if nowadays its leader speech became more soft on the issue of Euroscepticism. As of November 2014 both parties are represented in , with 45 MPs out of a total of 101 MPs.


Montenegro

The right-wing alliance are the main moderate eurosceptic subject in the , although its initially declaratively supported country's bid for accession to the , all other parliamentary subjects officially advocates Montenegrin access to EU. The only parties that advocates Montenegro's rejecting the European integration are the extra-parliamentary right-wing populist to far-right parties, such as , , and the , all four are known for their close cooperation with the parliamentary Democratic Front.


North Macedonia

Since having come into national opposition, and amid disagreements in the , the - which does not endorse the name of ''North Macedonia'', instead continuing to refer to ' without qualifiers - no longer supports the country's candidacy for EU membership. It has subsequently declared its aspirations towards .


Norway

Norway has rejected EU membership in two referendums, and . The , , and were against EU membership in both referendums. The Centre Party, Socialist Left Party, , and are also against Norway's current membership of the .


Russia

Parties with mainly Eurosceptic views are the ruling , and opposition parties the and . Following the , the European Union issued sanctions on the Russian Federation in response to what it regards as the "illegal" annexation of Crimea and "deliberate destabilisation" of a neighbouring sovereign country. In response to this, – Russia's permanent representative with the UN – said "The EU is committing a direct violation of human rights by its actions against Russia. The unilateral sanctions introduced against us are not only illegitimate according to international law, they also undermine Russian citizens' freedom of travel, freedom of development, freedom of work and others". In the same year, Russian president said: "What are the so-called European values? Maintaining the coup, the armed seizure of power and the suppression of dissent with the help of the armed forces?" A February 2014 poll conducted by the , Russia's largest independent polling organization, found that nearly 80% of Russian respondents had a "good" impression of the EU. This changed dramatically in 2014 with the Ukrainian crisis resulting in 70% taking a hostile view of the EU compared to 20% viewing it positively. A Levada poll released in August 2018 found that 68% of Russians polled believe that Russia needs to dramatically improve relations with Western countries. 42% of Russian respondents said they had a positive view of the EU, up from 28% in May 2018.


San Marino

A was held in the on 20 October 2013 in which the citizens were asked whether the country should submit an application to join the . The proposal was rejected because of a low turnout, even though 50.3% of voters approved it. The "Yes" campaign was supported by the main left-wing parties (, ) and the whereas the suggested voting with a , the declared itself neutral, and and the RETE movement supported the "No" campaign. The , which defines the for the , may have been an important reason for those voting no.


Serbia

In Serbia, political parties with eurosceptic views tend to be right-orientated. The most notable examples are the (SRS) which since its inception has opposed entering the European Union and the . Political parties such as the (DSS) had views and was initially supportive of the accession into the European Union but under the late 2000s leadership of they turned eurosceptic, and the (DJB) political party, initially a liberal centrist party that also supported the accession turned towards the right-wing eurosceptic position shortly after 2018. Historically, the (SPS) and the (JUL) were the only two left-leaning political parties that imposed eurosceptic and anti-Western views. The ruling coalition in Serbia, , which is predominantly pro-European orientated is also composed of two minor eurosceptic parties, the right-wing that advocates closer ties to Russia, and the left-leaning which was formed as the eurosceptic split from SPS in the 2000s. Other minor political parties in Serbia that have eurosceptic views are , , , , , and .


Switzerland

has long been known for in international politics. Swiss voters rejected membership , and EU membership . Despite the passing of several referendums calling for closer relations between such as the adoption of bilateral treaties and the joining of the , a second referendum of the joining of the EEA or the EU is not expected, and the general public remains opposed to joining. In February 2014, the Swiss voters narrowly approved a of EU citizens to Switzerland. Eurosceptic political parties include the , which is the largest , with 29.4% of the popular vote as of the . Smaller Eurosceptic parties include, but are not limited to, the , the , and the , all of which are considered right-wing parties. In addition, the is a political organisation in Switzerland that is strongly opposed to Swiss membership of or further integration otherwise with the European Union. Regionally, the German-speaking majority as well as the Italian-speaking areas are the most Eurosceptic, while tends to be more pro-European integration. In the 2001 referendum, the majority of French-speakers voted against EU membership. According to a 2016 survey conducted by M.I.S Trend and published in ', 69 percent of the Swiss population supports systematic border controls, and 53 percent want restrictions on the EU accord of the free movements of peoples and 14 percent want it completely abolished. 54% of the Swiss population said that if necessary, they would ultimately keep the freedom of movement of people's accord.


Turkey

The two main Eurosceptic parties are the far-right ultranationalist, (MHP), which secured 11.10% of votes, and 49 seats in the at the , and the (Saadet Partisi), a far-right ist party, which has no seats in the Parliament, as it only secured 0.68% of the votes in the last election, far below the 10% threshold necessary to be represented in the Parliament. Many left-wing nationalist and far-left parties hold no seats at parliament but they control many activist and student movements in Turkey. The (formerly called Workers' Party) consider the European Union as a frontrunner of global imperialism. Founded on 26 August 2021, under the leadership of , is a and political party. It is represented by two deputies in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Umit Ozdag; The European Union does not want to negotiate fully with Turkey. We will not humiliate Turkey any more, he said..


Ukraine

Parties with mainly Eurosceptic views are , , and . The far-right Ukrainian group opposes joining the European Union. It regards the EU as an "" of European nations. In the 2019 parliamentary election the won 37 seats on the nationwide party list and 6 constituency seats. The leader of the Anatoly Shariy is one of the closest associates of , whom Ukraine's special services suspect of financing terrorism.


United Kingdom

Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom has been a significant element in British politics ever since the inception of the (EEC), the predecessor to the EU. The European Union strongly divides the British public, political parties, media and civil society. The has backed the idea of the UK unilaterally leaving the European Union () since its foundation in 1993. During the 23 June 2016 , whilst the Conservatives had no official position, although its leader was in favour of remaining in the EU albeit after some renegotiation of the terms of membership, the party remained profoundly split, as it always had been. The officially supported remaining in the EU, although party leader did suggest early on in the campaign that he would consider withdrawal, a position he had personally advocated from the far left for many years, in fact throughout his period as a Labour MP. The were the most adamantly pro-EU party, and since the referendum, pro-Europeanism has been their main policy. The referendum an overall vote to leave the EU, as opposed to remaining an EU member, by 51.9% to 48.1%, on a turnout of 72.2%. The vote was split between the of the United Kingdom, with a majority in and voting to leave, and a majority in and , as well as (a ), voting to remain. As a result of the referendum, the UK Government notified the EU of its intention to withdraw on 29 March 2017 by . On 12 April 2019 a new Eurosceptic party, the was officially launched by former Leader . In the , the topped the national poll by a large margin with 31.69% gaining 29 seats by running on a single policy of leaving the EU, versus the second-placed Liberal Democrats with 18.53% and 16 seats who promoted themselves as the party of Remain (the total vote for Remain-supporting parties was approximately the same as that for parties supporting a 'no-deal' Brexit). The Conservative Party suffered their lowest ever national vote share of 9.1% with just 4 seats following 3 years of 's unsuccessful Brexit negotiations. The Labour Party's ambiguous position on Brexit led to their vote share dropping significantly to 14.08% resulting in the loss of half their seats, down from 20 to 10. The rapid growth of the Brexit Party was a contributing factor to Theresa May announcing on 24 May that she would step down as Prime Minister on 7 June 2019. After the elections, the Eurosceptic caucus of MPs was formed. Historically, the has expressed divided sentiments on the issue of EU membership, with the official stance changing with party leadership and individual MPs within the party variously favouring total withdrawal and remaining in the EU, while others adopted a position of being supportive of membership but opposed to joining the and pursuing further integration. Until the 1980s, the Conservative Party was somewhat more pro-EU than the Labour Party: for example, in the 1971 House of Commons vote on whether the UK should join the European Economic Community, only 39 of the then 330 Conservative MPs were opposed to membership. In 2009 the Conservative Party actively campaigned against the , which it believes would give away too much sovereignty to Brussels. Foreign Secretary stated that, should the treaty be in force by the time of an incoming Conservative government, he would "not let matters rest there". Following the in 2019, the Conservative Party became a strong supporter of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and its platform was changed to unanimously support EU withdrawal. In the the Conservative Party adopted a clear pro-Brexit platform in its manifesto. Although often associated with being a cause on the right in the twentieth first century with the contemporary Labour Party supporting EU membership, there have been notable Eurosceptic politicians on the left of British politics, such as former Labour cabinet minister who held a longstanding opposition to British membership of the EU throughout his career. Other Labour MPs who have supported eurosceptic sentiments and British withdrawal have included , , , , , and . Other figures on the left have included and socialist politician and trade unionist who both endorsed Britain's exit from the European Union. On 23 January 2020, the Parliament of the United Kingdom ratified a withdrawal agreement from the European Union, which was ratified by the EU Parliament on 30 January. On 31 January, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union after 47 years. During a transition period until 31 December 2020, the UK still followed EU rules and continued free trade and free movement for people within the European Union.


See also

* * * * * * * * (US) * * *


Footnotes


References

* * * * {{European Union topics Withdrawal from the European Union