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About this book

This timely text provides a concise and readable assessment of the dynamics, character and consequences of opposition to European integration at all levels from elites and governments through parties and the media to voters and grass roots organizations.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
To anti-Europeans’ regret, Henry Kissinger’s prediction that the disappearance of the Soviet threat and Germany’s reunification would bring about the end of European integration (1996:749) proved wrong. EU institutions’ and German political elites’ commitment to European integration proved much more robust than realist theorists like Kissinger thought. However, twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the political context in which European integration is proceeding has changed considerably. A telling indication of this was incidentally provided by the much-awaited ruling of the German Constitutional Court, delivered in June 2009, in which it declared that the Lisbon Treaty was compatible with German Basic Law. While this ruling was hailed in the rest of the EU as paving the way for a swift ratification of the treaty in Germany, it triggered some strongly critical remarks in the country itself. Former foreign minister Joseph Fischer, for instance, qualified it as ‘Eurosceptic’ and ‘backwards-oriented’ (2009). In fact, much of the Court’s ruling is permeated by an unusually distrustful tone towards the Union, reminiscent of British Eurosceptics’ hostility towards a European ‘super-state’.
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Chapter 1. Why Euroscepticism Matters

Abstract
When Margaret Thatcher made her famous speech to the College of Europe in Bruges on 22 September 1988 it was seen as a radical manifesto and a defining cornerstone of Eurosceptic discourse. But if we compare her denunciation of the EU’s alleged regulation excesses
The Community is not an end in itself … [It] is a practical means by which Europe can ensure the prosperity … of its people … [Working more closely together] does not require power to be centralised in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy … [We do not want] a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels … Our aim should not be more and more detailed regulation from the centre. (Thatcher 1988)
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Chapter 2. Varieties of Euroscepticism

Abstract
This chapter starts by outlining a broad historical overview of the emergence and evolution of Euroscepticism in the course of European integration, before putting forward a typology of different varieties of Euroscepticism, illustrating its changing nature over time.
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Chapter 3. A Geography of Euroscepticism

Abstract
Initially created by advocates of European unification, with a clearly political objective (to foster the emergence of a European public opinion) (Baisnée 2007), Eurobarometer surveys try to measure levels of public Euroscepticism by assessing citizens’ support for their country’s EU membership (i.e. whether they see it as a good thing or not) and by inquiring into citizens’ utilitarian evaluations of membership (i.e. whether they think their country has benefited from membership or not). The resulting countries’ rankings in terms of levels of pro-Europeanism can in fact be misleading. First of all, they can easily foster stereotypical views of countries, by classifying them into simplistic categories (for instance, Europhile versus Eurosceptic countries). Moreover, high levels of support for EU membership can coincide with widespread hostility to further integration, as was illustrated during the 2005 and 2008 referenda in the Netherlands and Ireland. In that respect, Eurobarometer rankings can obscure the existence of relatively widespread Eurosceptic orientations in apparently Europhile countries. For instance, a recent survey showed that in Belgium, a Europhile country by all Eurobarometer standards, one-fifth of citizens thought that European integration had already gone too far (Abts et al. 2009:9).
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Chapter 4. Political Elites

Abstract
European integration is often described as an ‘elite-led’ project, where political elites especially have played a crucial role as driving forces. In fact, it has been convincingly argued that the main European party families (Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists, together with most Greens), accounting for roughly two-thirds of the European electorate, have progressively converged towards a pro-European position in the course of European integration, thus reaching almost complete convergence by the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. Faced with more volatile public support for the EU in the post-Maastricht period, these elites, it is argued, have coalesced in order to take EU issues out of electoral competition, and thus preserve this pro-European consensus (Hix 1999:89). This has been corroborated by later studies, which have shown Europhile orientations to be a majority view among national MNPs and a clearly predominant view among MEPs (Ray 2007; Katz 2002). However, the predominantly pro-EU views of most mainstream parties’ leaderships (at least in continental Europe) should not obscure the fact that Euroscepticism is alive and well in domestic party systems, including inside mainstream parties. By the end of the 1990s, roughly one-third of all Eurosceptics in national parliaments belonged to either Christian Democratic or Social Democratic parties (Katz 2002:8).
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Chapter 5. National Institutions

Abstract
With the extension of the scope of QMV, member states are more likely to have to implement EU legislation that they initially opposed. In this context, there is a tendency for member states to ‘react to the intensifying integration process with a strategy of selective and recalcitrant compliance with European regulations’ (Neyer and Wolf 2000). However, compliance involves not only central governments, but also national parliaments and administrations (which adopt the national transposition laws and measures necessary to implement EU legislation), regional levels of governance or authorities (which supervise the implementation of EU legislation at the local or regional level), and domestic courts (which incorporate EU legislation into their case law and can refer to the ECJ via the preliminary ruling procedure, in order to interpret EU treaties). Having a reduced administration, no police and no power over the use of force, the EU actually relies on these national institutions for the effective implementation of EU law at the domestic level.
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Chapter 6. Popular Euroscepticism

Abstract
Popular Euroscepticism refers to scepticism towards European integration in public opinion. In the mid-1990s, Eurobarometer surveys highlighted an apparent gap between top decision-makers and the general public in terms of attitudes towards the EU: in 1996, the former were twice as supportive (94 per cent) of EU membership as the latter (48 per cent) (Spence 1996). More recently, referenda on major institutional reforms illustrated this gap. Albeit supported by the overwhelming majority of political elites, major treaty changes were rejected by large majorities of electorates in three countries in 2005 and 2008.
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Chapter 7. The Media

Abstract
As with party-based or popular Euroscepticism, levels of Euroscepticism in the media vary greatly from one member state to another. Several factors may account for these differences: the organization of the media system (notably the degree of media concentration on the domestic market), the relevance of the tabloid press (while being very influential in some countries, it is not in others), traditional expectations of the role of the media in public debate (in Germany, the media are primarily expected to give substantive information on a given issue, while in the UK they are primarily expected to foster public debate), the degree of politicization and partisanship of the media (for instance, the strongly politicized character of British media fosters polarization), and differences in terms of news framing, to name a few. Furthermore, levels of Euroscepticism in the domestic media might also reflect dominant perceptions of European integration in a given country. For instance, the German press seems to be characterized by a relatively strong pro-European consensus transcending political cleavages, reflecting the largely pro-European orientation of German political elites (Eilders and Volmers 2003).
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Chapter 8. Civil Society

Abstract
This chapter analyzes various forms of Euroscepticism among civil society organizations and social movements. In a context where European integration has gained in relevance for a growing number of civil society actors, existing studies suggest that the latter tend to evaluate the EU more negatively than state actors and political elites. The most common hypothesis, in line with utilitarian theories, is that civil society actors tend to be disadvantaged in their ability to influence EU legislation and policies.
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Chapter 9. Understanding Euroscepticism

Abstract
This chapter assesses, based on the book’s main findings, how valuable different theories can be in enhancing our understanding of Euroscepticism.
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Chapter 10. Conclusion: The Future of Euroscepticism and the Future of the EU

Abstract
In late 2005, as EU leaders decided on a ‘pause’ in the ratification process of the EU Constitutional Treaty in reaction to the Dutch and French referenda, the European Commission put forward an initiative called Plan D (Democracy, Dialogue, Debate) aimed at fostering a wide-ranging debate on EU policies between EU institutions and citizens (European Commission 2005b). This initiative, interpreted as the ‘starting point of a long term democratic process’ (European Commission 2006b), aimed at empowering citizens on EU issues. In parallel to this, the Commission announced it would engage in a new type of communication, relying on more interactive, bottom-up interactions with citizens (European Commission 2006a). However, the ability of the Commission to address Euroscepticism by trying to foster deliberative democracy at EU level is limited. As was argued elsewhere (Moracksik 2007) in the case of the convention which drafted the EU Constitutional Treaty, the conventional method neither boosted public support for the treaty, nor brought EU institutions closer to citizens.
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