In February 2013 EUROPP launched a new series on Euroscepticism. This series is the result of a collaboration between EUROPP, LSE’s British Politics and Policy blog, and the University of Nottingham’s Ballots & Bullets blog.

April 2013

German support for the European project should not be taken for granted

Robert Grimm and Marius Guderjan argue that Germany’s relative economic prosperity partly explains the continuous support of the German people for the European project. However, there has nevertheless been a growth in Euroscepticism in the country in recent years. While history might have made Germans more idealistic about the EU’s value to unite a continent that underwent centuries of wars and instability, in the long run the calls for more democracy, transparency, participation and efficiency may grow louder.

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Support for EU membership in Croatia has fallen dramatically since accession negotiations began in 2003

This summer, Croatia is due to become the 28th member state of the European Union. But how do Croatians feel about EU membership? Renata Franc, Vanja Medjugorac and the project MYPLACE team report that support for EU membership in Croatia has fallen dramatically since accession negotiations began in 2003. They attribute this fall in support to the lack of public debate about joining the EU, as well as poor information and stereotypes about how the EU functions.

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The recent political history of Greece highlights the risk that the euro might become unaffordable for the mass of Europeans

The Greek MYPLACE team at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences reflect on the recent political history of Greece. They argue that the unfolding of the ‘Grexit’ discourse, which equates the common currency with recessionary austerity measures, holds important lessons about the broader direction of travel within the Eurozone.

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March 2013

Though currently indifferent, young Germans may begin to reject the EU if economic conditions worsen

As part of our Euroscepticism collaboration, Britta Busse, Alexandra Hashem-Wangler and Jochen Tholen look at the attitudes of young Germans towards the EU. Using in-depth interviews, they find that while German youth are generally positive about European integration, they feel that the EU needs Germany more than Germany needs the EU. They also warn that a deterioration in the economic situation for German young people may harden their attitudes towards the European project.

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In political fiction the EU is either non-existent or portrayed as corrupt and dystopian

What do fictional portrayals of political issues say about the views within a society? Steven Fielding notes that while political fiction is an important part of British culture, portrayals of Europe and the issue of European integration are rare. Where the European issue is mentioned, it tends to be connected to corruption, or dystopian visions of the future in which a United States of Europe has superseded nation states. He argues that the fictional portrayal of Europe illustrates the depth of mistrust the EU generates in British citizens.

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Until relations between citizens and states improve in individual nations, it is unlikely that we will see a decline in Euroscepticism

With each passing month of crisis, the transnational solidarity on which the European project depends looks ever more unstable. Domonkos Sik uses Hungary as a case study to argue that attitudes towards the European Union are shaped by the degree of trust which characterises relations between citizens and the state at a national level.

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The Eurozone crisis has increased soft Euroscepticism in Greece, where Greeks wish to remain in the euro, but no longer trust the EU

Nearly six years of recession have taken their toll on Greece, and the country is now facing difficult austerity measures from the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank. But what has austerity meant for Euroscepticism in the country? Using Eurobarometer statistics, Kyriaki Nanou and Susannah Verney find that while there is now a deep distrust of the EU and its institutions on the part of the Greek people, there is little appetite for the country to exit the EU or leave the euro.

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February 2013

An American perspective on the EU: The United States should work to ensure European stability

Last month the advice from a senior US official that Britain should stay in the EU received widespread media attention. Katrina Kelly offers an analysis of the EU from an American perspective, suggesting that the future relationship between the US and EU  will be central for the economic vitality of both.

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The power of Euromyths shows that there needs to be a more substantial effort to change the debate on the EU

From bans on oddly shaped bananas, to children blowing up balloons, so-called ‘Euromyths’ have become a pervasive part of the UK media’s reporting of EU policies. Simon Usherwood takes an in-depth look at the place of Euromyths in the public debate on the EU, finding that they are much harder to stop than to start. While it is important to debunk these myths, what is really needed is a substantive effort to generate a more mature and thoughtful debate on European integration.

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David Cameron’s EU referendum pledge may not guarantee a Conservative victory in the next UK general election

As part of our collaborative project exploring contemporary Euroscepticism, Tim Bale offers an analysis of recent European events and their implications for both the UK political scene and the internal politics of the Conservative party.

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Not everyone in the UK is anti-EU: young people and the Eurosceptic vote

The prevalence of Euroscepticism within the UK electorate is widely claimed yet Stuart Fox argues that it is not borne out by the facts. The nature of such attitudes is more complex than the Europhile/Eurosceptic dichotomy suggests and their distribution varies across demographic groups.

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Eurosceptic attitudes are widespread in the Nordic states, but there is a high level of variation between countries

While the United Kingdom has been the focus for most discussions about Euroscepticism, citizens in the Nordic states have also displayed notable Eurosceptic attitudes. As part of our collaborative project exploring contemporary Euroscepticism, Benjamin Leruth assesses public opinion in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. He finds that attitudes vary significantly, with citizens tending to be particularly critical of European policies which their country has opted out of. There also appears to be little public support for Iceland or Norway joining the EU in the near future.

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Note:  The above articles give the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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