Euroscepticism within the Post-2008 European Union: Actors and Implications

Catarina Isabel Pereira e Silva, Laura Ferreira-Pereira, Alena Vieira

Against the backdrop of the post-2008 crisis in Europe, the Eurosceptic wave has considerably increased in weight and impact. This was particularly noticeable in Southern Europe, where the movements allied to the populist extremism fronts in both national and European politics have emerged. As a result of this, the discourse against the European project became more pronounced within the European institutions, particularly in the European Parliament, where the Eurosceptic political parties already occupy about 25% of the seats. However, the phenomenon has spread also to the Council of the European Union and to the European Council, mainly due to the presence of the left-wing and right-wing parties in the respective governments or coalitions, a trend that has deepened during 2015. This paper examines and discusses the consequences of the growing importance of Eurosceptic political parties in the European institutional make-up and policy-making. Our argument is that the Eurosceptic political parties' influence upon the decision-making in the European institutions, especially in economic and immigration policies has been growing steadily. In order to assess how this influence has been taking place, this paper will take Greece and Finland as major case studies; and will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods involving the voting patterns of Eurosceptic political parties in the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Council and the data collected in semi structured interviews, respectively.

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