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Euroskepticism

Updated on April 3, 2012

Definition

Euroskepticism -- sometimes spelled Euroscepticism -- is a political stance that refers to a skeptical or critical view of the European Union. In modern politics, this skepticism is often directed toward the common currency area in the European Union (EU) commonly known as the Eurozone . The Eurozone is made up of the EU nations that have selected to adopt a unified currency at the expense of their national currency. Euroskepticism also encompasses other issues: many Euroskeptics believe that the EU infringes upon national sovereignty and seeks to create a federal European state; others argue that the EU is too bureaucratic in nature and are hesitant to give it additional power.

Growing Popularity

In the 2009 European Parliamentary elections, Euroskeptic parties saw a massive uptick in their support. Many media outlets have credited the Eurozone Sovereign Debt Crisis for this surge in popular support for anti-EU parties. As the economic turmoil over the euro and Greek debt has grown, so too has fear that entering into the Eurozone may have been a poor decision.

Euroskeptic Parties

Within the European Parliament, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group represents the most hard-line Euroskeptic interests. Membership in this party is composed of representatives from multiple countries: nine from the United Kingdom Independence Party; nine from Italy's Lega Nord; four from Poland's United Poland; and an additional 12 members representing other parties from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Slovakia.

These "hard Euroskeptics" in the EFD are generally opposed to the European Union on principle and often seek to withdraw their home nations from the EU.

In addition, there are "soft Euroskeptics" within the EU; for example, the European Conservatives and Reformists, with 54 members, was founded on the principles of opposition to EU federalism; stronger and more controlled immigration; and an end to wasteful bureaucracy.

United Kingdom Independence Party

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), under the leadership of Nigel Farage, has become the most vocal, if not the most important, Euroskeptic party. In the 2009 European Parliamentary Elections, the UKIP became the second-most vote-getting party within the United Kingdom. Since then, Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage has become a vocal leader of the Euroskeptic movement, consistently attacking Europhiles, the European Union, and the euro.

Example: Nigel Farage on the Present State of the EU

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