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. The Freedom Party of Austria surged in the 2017 legislative elections, and while it received third place, it successfully shifted the establishment Austrian People's Party to the Right on issues such as immigration.
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.
While the AfD was unable to gain any seats in the German national parliament in the 2013 election, it entered the Bundestag in the 2017 election after taking a historic third place with nearly 13% of the vote, while Angela Merkel's CDU received its worst result since 1949. Despite this, Merkel continued defending her open borders policies.
The 2017 Czech parliamentary election resulted in major gains for Euroskeptic and anti-establishment parties and major losses for the Left. At first place was the populist ANO, led by Andrej Babis, who has been compared to U.S. President Donald Trump and has criticized the European Union and immigration. The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party, a new and solidly right-wing and Euroskeptic party, reached a close 4th place, exceeding expectations. The three Euroskeptic and right-wing parties that won seats, the ANO, ODS, and SPD, won a combined 51.6% of the popular vote, while the Social Democratic Party won its worst-ever result, at 7.27%, and the Communist Party also saw massive losses, winning only 7.76%.
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)
- Centre Party (Norway)
- Law and Justice (Poland)
- Northern League (Italy)
- Five Star Movement (Italy)
- Fidesz (Hungary)
- 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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- Mutliple references:
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- Multiple references:
- Tomlinson, Chris (September 25, 2017). Merkel’s Pyrrhic Victory: Worst Party Performance Since 1949 As Populist AfD Beat Expectations. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
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- Merkel Defends Open Borders Migrant Policy After Election Shock. Breitbart News. September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- Lane, Oliver JJ (October 21, 2017). Surge For Right-Wing Eurosceptic ‘Czech Trump’ at Worst Election in Czech History for Left Party. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Moody, John (October 19, 2017). In Czech election, yes means no to European Union slavery. Fox News. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Laca, Peter; Bauerova, Ladka Mortkowitz (October 22, 2017). Czechs Add to EU’s Headache by Electing Euroskeptic Billionaire. Bloomberg. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Gosling, Tim (October 21, 2017). Populist billionaire sweeps to victory in Czech election. The Telegraph. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Czech Trump and insurgent parties benefit from 'voting hurricane' in Czech Republic election. Deutsche Welle. October 21, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Mortkowitz, Siegfried (October 21, 2017). Czech voters hand Euroskeptic Babiš big victory. Politico. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Witte, Griff (October 17, 2017). In center of Europe, politics takes a Trumpian turn with rise of anti-immigrant billionaire. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Lyman, Rick (October 17, 2017). In Czech Election, a New Threat to European Unity. The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
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- Eurosceptic. Oxforddictionaries.com.