Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Euroscepticism across Europe: Drivers and Challenges

Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Euroscepticism across Europe: Drivers and Challenges

Article excerpt

1. Origins and Evolution of the Euroscepticism Phenomenon

In the years that have elapsed since the first signs of economic instability, people in Europe witnessed budgetary adjustments or banks recovery programs through financial support from the state. Each of them has seen these events as a debtor or creditor depending on the country of origin. All these, together with the lack of visible improvements caused a massive decline of confidence in the European Union as an institution and its ability to achieve targets.

It is therefore interesting to investigate the reasons leading to this phenomenon. Inside the Union, Europeans' fears, for example, are linked to the changes in unemployment and general economic insecurity in the country of origin. Europeans feel victims of unfair policies, and the responsibility of this situation belongs to their state union. Moreover, not even local governments enjoy the same popularity, which negatively influences the hopes and expectations for the future. Insecurity felt in the European Union is indeed a problem that affects its image; however, we can not overlook the fact that over the years Eurobarometer investigations have brought to light results that draw attention to other shortcomings.

The word eurosceptic is a neologism quickly and definitively adopted, which, according to Larousse dictionary as a noun or adjective, denotes or characterizes "a person who doubts the viability or usefulness of the European Union" (Le Petit Larousse, 2011, p.101). The word eurosceptic is formed by merging the prefix euro- respectively sceptic. Today, in all languages, skepticism/scepticism is mistaken with distrust or suspicion. Or, the word sceptic (fr. sceptique, engl. sceptic), entered the European languages during Renaissance, comes from the Greek skeptikos that in the original language meant observer, examiner. Therefore, sceptic should express only a reasonable doubt that refuse dogmatism.

The noun eurosceptic tends to become a kind of barometer that might measure, in a population or an entire country, the non adherence to the European Union. French linguist and lexicographer Alain Rey has a memorable quote concerning the role of words "Le langage ne sert pas uniquement à s'exprimer, il sert aussi à mentir, à influencer, à se faire valoir". (Rey, 1998, p. 523) Or perhaps the ones who introduced the word eurosceptic in the usual language of so many millions of people know very well what Alain Rey speaks about.

Euroscepticism is one of the biggest challenges for the architects of the new Europe, and nowadays, the international press has lately devoted significant space to a phenomenon that few expected. This phenomenon, euroscepticism, being recently called economic protectionism, has become one of the most important concerns on the agenda of many politicians, analysts and ordinary people. Being associated with the idea of disagreement regarding the goals of the European project, radical Eurosceptics are frightened not only of the economic effects concerning EU enlargement, but also to a great extent, of national sovereignty for the states that decide or have decided to enter the European area. Euroscepticism is stronger in northern EU countries. But why here in the developed countries and not elsewhere? Usually both countries outside the EU, as well as those already member states, focus on various disadvantages of integration. In the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark, the project of economic and monetary union is the main plot for eurosceptic attitude. For example, in Sweden and in the UK, only three out of ten citizens of this country agree that membership brings benefits. Western countries that are not members of the EU - Norway, Iceland, Switzerland - also have strong eurosceptic attitudes. In those countries that are already members of the EU but kept their own currency instead of euro (UK, Denmark, Sweden), euroscepticism focuses on the disadvantages of the euro and also on other aspects of EU involvement. …

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