Euroskepticism (also spelled "Euroscepticism") refers to the political philosophy opposed to the European Union and its increasingly centralized, federalist, and socialist powers. Most Euroskeptics are conservative, libertarian, and populist, although some people on the Left also held to their own version of Euroskepticism. Adherents of Euroskepticism are known as Euroskeptics. Globalists and supporters of a completely federalized European country oppose Euroskeptics.
One could see Euroskepticism in action in the 1990s, when the Maastricht Treaty was being adopted by EU nations. Denmark rejected the treaty, and France barely approved it. Additionally, Switzerland rejected joining the European Economic Area in 1992, and Norway rejected a referendum to join the EU. Many Euroskeptic parties grew during this period.
A new wave of Euroskepticism resulted from the Eurozone Crisis, which began in 2009, and the European migrant crisis, which began a few years later. Euroskeptic parties performed strongly in the 2014 European parliament elections, with such parties in the United Kingdom, France, and Denmark gaining the most seats in their respective countries.
In the 2015 Swiss federal elections, the Swiss People's Party received 29.4 percent of the vote and 65 seats in the 200-seat National Council, a record amount for the party. No Swiss political party had exceeded the SVP's share of the vote in at least a century, and no party received more seats in the National Council since 1963, when the number of seats was established at 200.
In May 2015 Polish presidential election, conservative and Euroskeptic challenger Andrzej Duda of the moderately-Euroskeptic Law and Justice (PiS) won in an upset, defeating the pro-EU incumbent. In the October 2015 general election, PiS won in a landslide, becoming the first Polish party to win enough votes to govern the country alone since the fall of communism in 1989. This landslide election frightened Europeanist leaders and politicians.
In the first round of the 2016 Austrian presidential election, Freedom Party of Austria candidate Norbert Hofer received 35.1 percent of the vote, which at the time was the party's best result in a national election in history. Hofer lost the run-off election by less than one percentage point, and again received a relatively large percentage for a Euroskeptic party in a rerun later that year.
French National Front candidate Marine Le Pen received second place in the first round of the 2017 French election on April 23 with over 21% of the vote, meaning she advanced to the second round to face liberal globalist candidate Emmanuel Macron. Le Pen]lost the election with just under 34% of the vote, the election was a victory for her in a sense as it showed that she, her party, and their ideas had entered and were influencing the French mainstream. Soon after the election, it was revealed that even if Le Pen had won, the liberal elite in France would have taken steps to keep her from actually welding power.
Euroskeptic political parties
The following is a non-exhaustive list of European political parties that advocate for Euroskeptic policies:
- French National Front (France)
- United Kingdom Independence Party (United Kingdom)
- Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland, UK)
- Swiss People's Party (Switzerland)
- Alternative for Germany (Germany)
- Party for Freedom (Netherlands)
- Danish Peoples Party (Denmark)
- Sweden Democrats (Sweden)
- Vlaams Belang (Belgium)
- Progress Party (Norway)
- Law and Justice (Poland)
- Northern League (Italy)
- Five Star Movement (Italy)
- Jobbik (Hungary)
- Nigel Farage (United Kingdom)
- Marine Le Pen (France)
- Christoph Blocher (Switzerland)
- Geert Wilders (Netherlands)
- Beppe Grillo (Italy)
- Umberto Bossi (Italy)
- Jörg Haider (Austria; deceased)
- Norbert Hofer (Austria)
- Viktor Orbán (Hungary)
- Andrzej Duda (Poland)
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- Eurosceptic. Oxforddictionaries.com.