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Responding to the crisis: Eurosceptic parties of the left and right and their changing position towards the European Union

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sebastian Popa



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


At the time of the election of the European Parliament (EP) in 2014, the European Union (EU) was heavily affected by a multi-faceted crisis which had – and still has – far-reaching implications for the political system of its member-countries, but also for the European level of governance. Against the background of the strong Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 EP elections, this study aims to investigate in which way Eurosceptic parties of the left and the right respond to the multiple crises of the EU. Using data from the Euromanifesto Project from 2004/2009 and 2014, we analyze changes in the party positions towards the EU in the shadow of the multiple crises and study the reasons thereof. Our findings show a general anti-European shift among the two types of Eurosceptic parties. Nevertheless, the changes in the EU polity tone are not determined by issue-based repercussions of the multiple crises, but by the EU-related evaluation – the polity mood – of the national citizenry. For far-right Eurosceptic parties, the shift is moderated by the level of public support for EU integration in their national environment. Among far-left Eurosceptic parties, by contrast, it is moderated by the more specific public attitudes about the monetary union policy of the EU. Consequently, political parties when drafting their manifestos for EP elections are not so much guided by the objective severity of political problems, nor by the evaluations of these problems by the citizenry. What matters in the end is the link that citizens themselves are able to establish between the severity of political problems on the one hand, and the responsibility of the European Union for these problems on the other. This has important consequences for our understanding of the nature and substance of political responsiveness within the EU system of multilevel governance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Braun D, Popa SA, Schmitt H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Political Research

Year: 2019

Volume: 58

Issue: 3

Pages: 797-819

Print publication date: 01/08/2019

Online publication date: 08/02/2019

Acceptance date: 17/10/2018

Date deposited: 14/12/2018

ISSN (print): 0304-4130

ISSN (electronic): 1475-6765

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12321


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