Master Political Science
EU Politics and Multilevel Governance
B. Crum & T. Lenz
2.2Sources of Euroscepticism5
2.4Are these causes likely to be strengthened by the financial crisis6
Over the last few years the process of European integration is getting more and more criticized by the European citizens. Public concerns about the European Union are increasing these days and the current financial crisis is not making this any better. European citizens are suffering from high unemployment, government’s cuts on budgets and they have less to spend in their daily life.
Serricchio et al. (2012) have studied the influence of the financial crisis on Euroscepticism across the member states. They have come to the final conclusion that the economic crisis has not substantially influenced Euroscepticism directly, however Euroscepticism has significantly increased in the states most affected by the financial crisis (Serricchio, 2012). Euroscepticism has raised many questions among scholars about the actual influence of Euro skeptical Europeans and parties in political party systems. As Taggart (1998:364) argues; West-European party systems are influenced by the phenomenon Euroscepticism. Eurosceptic parties are being more successful in the last few years. This paper will research if the success of these parties is influenced by the current financial crisis.
This raises the question if people that are skeptic about European integration really vote for radical parties that align with their opinions. The research question for this paper will be the following: “To what extend does the financial crisis increase support for Eurosceptic Parties?”
Euroscepticism has become a concept that is being used more and more the past years. Euroscepticism is a threat to further European integration of policies, institutions and principles (Hooghe & Marks, 2007). Hooghe & Marks (2007:119) argue that European integration is no longer a result of the decision-making of European elites. External factors, like public opinion, party competition and the media play a significant role in the integration processes. The word skepticism is defined by Hooghe & Marks (2007:119) as ‘an attitude of doubt or a disposition of disbelief’. By Euroscepticism is then meant, skepticism about Europe or European integration. Taggart (1998:366) defines Euroscepticism as ‘the idea of contigent or qualified opposition, as well incorporating outright and unqualified opposition to the process of European integration’. Euroscepticism can be divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Euroscepticism (Taggart & Szczerbiak, 2004; ). First of all, ‘hard’ Euroscepticism, when people reject the entire political and economical integration process of the EU (Taggart & Szczerbiak, 2004). Second, ‘soft’ Euroscepticism means qualified opposition to the integration process of the European Union (Taggart & Szczerbiak, 2004). People might be against the policies of the EU or have ‘national-interest’ Euroscepticism, but are not opposed to European integration in principle. A distinction can be made between people who accept the European integration process as to inclusive; they argue that the European Union might not be the optimal form of integration on the one hand. They see Europe as to divergent and argue that the EU cannot force these elements to integrate (Taggart, 1998). On the other hand, people who accept the European integration process as to exclusive. Exclusion can either be social or geographical. This means that they are not opposed to the integration process, however they have the sense that the EU excludes poorer regions and the EU is not...