EUROSCEPTICISM in its broadest sense refers to a political doctrine or movement motivated by hostility to European political integration. The distinctions drawn earlier (in the introduction) between different dimensions of European political integration permit us to distinguish three somewhat different targets of the eurosceptics' hostility. One target is the product of European integration—the EU itself. Eurosceptics variously complain that the EU is (among other things) wasteful, unnecessary, unaccountable, corrupt, protectionist, antidemocratic, and—worst of all—foreign.1 Another target is the process of integration. Eurosceptics complain that this process is undemocratic, secretive, bureaucratic, and “deceptive” (in the sense that ostensibly minor reforms frequently yield far-reaching, irreversible changes).2 Still another target of eurosceptics is the project of European political integration. Eurosceptics (particularly in Britain) are constantly in fear of the EU turning into some form of federal entity (whether a unitary European “superstate” or a postsovereign polity).
This chapter is primarily concerned with those forms of euroscepticism directed against the federalists' project of European integration. While the euroscepticism directed against the process and the current product can be addressed through various reforms, project-focused euroscepticism suggests that no matter how transparent the process, no matter what institutional tinkering with the product, a more politically unified Europe is flatly undesirable. Since the argument of this book suggests otherwise, project-focused euroscepticism deserves a closer look.
The most potent forms of project-focused euroscepticism draw support from both the sociological and ideological dimensions of nationalism. From a sociological standpoint, nationalism can be understood as a set of processes—some ideational, some material—that lead the boundaries of nations and the boundaries of states to coincide.3 Many social scientists believe that nationalism (so defined) is a central feature of the modern world. Eurosceptics can draw support from this sociological thesis, because it suggests that the idea of a European multinational polity—or indeed any type of polity designed to overcome or re