University of Twente Student Theses


Ideological coherence among right-wing Eurosceptic parties in the European parliament

Le Lain, Guillaume (2014) Ideological coherence among right-wing Eurosceptic parties in the European parliament.

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Abstract:The last European election of 2014 resulted in a Eurosceptic surge: parties skeptical of the European Union, both on the left and right wings of the Parliament, saw a dramatic increase of their number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and even won unprecedented victories in countries such as the United-Kingdom, France or Denmark. The results were particularly good for right-wing Eurosceptic parties. The goal of this thesis is to characterize this Eurosceptic right. Who is part of it? What unites it, what makes it different from the rest of the European Parliament? And what divides it, what makes it more complex than a uniform bloc of parties? To answer these questions, I use the data obtained from the development of the voting advice application EUVox. A number of coders were asked to position European parties on several issue statements in order to create the application. I use their answers to position the parties on a two-dimensional political space, created by combining issue statements together, and to find the characteristics of the Eurosceptic right. The first finding is that it is mainly comprised of the European Conservative and Reformists group, of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group and of the right-wing non-attached members. There are however a few exceptions. These parties have in common an opposition to further European integration and an overall right-wing position on a general left-right dimension that includes issues such as the economy, law and order, immigration and social issues. There is not, however, a uniform group of Eurosceptic right-wing parties. The results of my research lead me to divide them in three categories. The most Eurosceptic of these is a ‘EU-rejecting’ group that opposes EU integration on its principle. It is mostly comprised of parties generally considered as far-right. A second group is called ‘eurocritical’. These parties are opposed to the practice of EU cooperation but not to its principle. They oppose the euro, and support more centrist economic policies than the ‘rejecting’ group. Finally, there is a smaller group that is less critical of the functioning of the EU but still opposes further integration in the current context. I call them ‘eurorealists’.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:89 political science
Programme:European Studies MSc (69303)
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