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Euroscepticism (sometimes euroskepticism) is the body of criticism of the European Union (EU), and opposition to the process of political European integration, existing throughout the political spectrum. Traditionally, the main source of euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state. Other views occasionally seen as eurosceptic include perceptions of the EU being undemocratic or too bureaucratic. A Eurobarometer survey of EU citizens in 2009 showed that support for membership of the EU was lowest in Latvia, the United Kingdom, and Hungary.:91–3 Euroscepticism is found in political parties across the left and right spectrum.
There can be considered to be two different types of Eurosceptic thought, which differ in the extent to which adherents reject European integration and in their reasons for doing so. Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart described these as 'hard' and 'soft' euroscepticism.
Hard euroscepticism is the opposition to membership of, or the existence of, the European Union as a matter of principle. The Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament, typified by such parties as the United Kingdom Independence Party, is hard eurosceptic. In western European EU member countries, hard euroscepticism is currently a hallmark of many anti-establishment parties. Though in the UK Independence Party case, it is a right-wing populist party, which is pro establishment supporting the monarchy.
Soft euroscepticism is support for the existence of, and membership of, a form of European Union, but with opposition to specific EU policies, and opposition to a federal Europe. The European Conservatives and Reformists group, typified by centre-right parties such as the British Conservative Party, along with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left which is an alliance of the left-wing parties in the European Parliament, is soft eurosceptic.
Alternative names for 'hard' and 'soft' euroscepticism are respectively 'withdrawalist' and 'reformist' euroscepticism. Some 'hard' eurosceptics such as UKIP prefer to call themselves euro-realists rather than 'sceptics', and regard their position as pragmatic rather than "in principle". Also many on the left such as Tony Benn tend not to use the phrase to refer to themselves even though they share many of their criticisms of the European Union and they may use phrases such as euro-critical or just call themselves democrats or socialists and their scepticism as part of their wider belief in democracy or socialism.
The Czech president Václav Klaus rejected the term "euroscepticism", with its purported negative undertones, saying (at a meeting in April 2012) that the expressions for a eurosceptic and his opponent should be "a Euro-realist" and someone who is "Euro-naïve" (respectively).[this quote needs a citation]
Eurobarometer survey Spring 2012 
A survey in 2012[update], conducted by TNS Opinion and Social on behalf of the European Commission, showed that, for the European Union overall, those who think that their country's interests are looked after well in the EU are now in a minority (42%). Those with a positive image of the EU are down from a high of 52% in 2007 to a low of 31% in May 2012 (unchanged since November 2011); this compares with 28% with a negative image of the EU, and 39% with a neutral image (up from a low of 14% in 2007).
About 31% of EU citizens tend to trust the European Union as an institution, and about 60% do not tend to trust it. Trust in the EU has fallen from a high of 57% in 2007 to 31% in 2012, while trust in national governments has fallen from 43% in 2007 to 28% in 2012; so the EU has moved from enjoying much more trust than national governments in 2007 to a position of enjoying only slightly more trust than national governments in 2012. Trust in the EU is lowest in the United Kingdom (16% trust, 75% distrust) and highest in Bulgaria (55% trust; 15% distrust). Trust in national governments in these two countries is 21% (distrust 77%) and 28% (distrust 64%) respectively.
History in the European Parliament 
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A study analysed voting records of the Fifth European Parliament and ranked groups, concluding: "Towards the top of the figure are the more pro-European parties (PES, EPP-ED, and ALDE), whereas towards the bottom of the figure are the more anti-European parties (EUL/NGL, G/EFA, UEN and EDD)."
In 2004, 37 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliament group called “Independence and Democracy” from the old Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD) group.
The main goals of the ID group were to reject the proposed Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. Some delegations within the group, notably the United Kingdom Independence Party, also advocate the complete withdrawal of their country from the EU whilst others only wish to limit further European integration.
2009 elections 
The elections in 2009 saw a significant drop in some areas in support for Eurosceptic parties, with all MEPs from Poland, Denmark and Sweden losing their seats. However, in the UK, the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party achieved second place in the elections, finishing ahead of the governing Labour Party, and the British National Party (BNP) won its first ever two MEPs. Although new members joined the ID group from Greece and the Netherlands, it was unclear as to whether the ID group would reform in the new parliament.
The ID group did reform, as the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) and is represented by 32 MEPs from nine countries.
List of Eurosceptic parties 
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Czech Republic 
Petr Mach, an economist, a close associate of president Václav Klaus and a member of the Civic Democratic Party between 1997 and 2007, founded the Free Citizens Party in 2009. The party aims to mainly attract dissatisfied Civic Democratic Party voters. At the time of the Lisbon Treaty ratification, they were actively campaigning against it, unlike the governing Civic Democratic Party, who endorsed it in the Chamber of Deputies. After the treaty has been ratified, they are in favour of withdrawing from the European Union completely.
The People's Movement against the EU only takes part in European Parliament elections and has one member in the European Parliament. The pro-EU, but eurosceptic, June Movement, originally a split-off from the People's Movement against the EU, existed from 1992 to 2009.
In the Danish Parliament, the Unity List has withdrawal from the EU as a policy. The Danish People's Party also advocate withdrawal, but has claimed to support some EU structures such as the inner market, and supported the EU-positive Liberal-Conservative coalition 2001-2011.
The Socialist People's Party, minorities within the Social Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party, and some smaller parties were against accession to the European Union in 1972. Still in 1986, these parties advocated a no vote in the Single European Act referendum. Later, the Social Liberal Party changed to a strongly EU-positive party, and EU opposition within the Social Democratic Party faded. The Socialist People's Party were against the Amsterdam Treaty in 1998 and Denmark's joining the euro in 2000, but has become increasingly EU positive, for example when MEP Margrete Auken left the eurosceptic European United Left–Nordic Green League and joined the The Greens–European Free Alliance in 2004.
Whereas the current Finnish administration (notably Jutta Urpilainen) has been more hesitant towards the EU monetary policy than the previous ones, Eurobarometers and other polls have shown that among Finnish citizens, the opinion trend has been somewhat reversed during recent years. In Eurobarometer 77 (fieldwork in Spring 2012), 41% of Finns trusted the European Union (EU-27 average: 31%), 51% trusted The European Parliament (average: 40%), and 74% were in favour of the euro currency (average: 52%). The rise of a pro-European sentiment is mainly due to the existent wave of general internationalisation in Finland.
In France, many parties are more or less radically Eurosceptic, varying from advocating less EU intervention in national affairs to advocating outright withdrawal from the EU as it is and from the Eurozone. These parties belong to all sides of the political spectrum so the reasons for their Euroscepticism may differ, but they all opposed the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. Many French people are uninterested in such matters: only 40% of the French electorate voted in the 2009 European Parliament elections.
Moderate right-leaning Eurosceptic parties include the Gaullist Debout la République, and also the Mouvement pour la France, and Chasse, Pêche, Nature & Traditions, both of which joined Libertas, a pan-European Eurosceptic party. In the 2009 European Parliament elections, Debout la République obtained 1.77% of the national vote, and Libertas 4.8%. In a similar way to the moderate parties, the French far right in general is naturally opposed to the EU, as they criticise France's loss of political and economic sovereignty to a supra-national entity. The main far right political party is the Front National. The party obtained 6.5% of the votes, which makes it the largest Eurosceptic party in France.
Left-wing Eurosceptic parties tend to criticise the liberal agenda of the EU, although they usually support a unification of countries (albeit under a socialist system) and the abolition of national borders. They include the Parti de Gauche and the French Communist Party, which formed the Front de Gauche for the 2009 European Parliament elections and obtained 6.3% of the votes. The other major far-left eurosceptic parties are the New Anticapitalist Party which obtained 4.8% and Lutte Ouvrière which obtained 1.2%. The Citizen and Republican Movement, a left-wing eurosceptic and souverainist party, did not participate in the 2009 elections.
The two main eurosceptic parties are Independence Party and Progressive Party. The parties won the parliamentary election in April 2013 and it is expected that their win may halt the current negotiations with the European Union regarding Icelandic membership.
The Irish people voted no to initial referendums on both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties. There were second referendums held on both of these issues and it was then that the votes were swayed in favour of the respective ‘Yes’ campaigns. 
In relation to both the Nice and Lisbon treaties, the decision to force second referendums has been the subject of much scrutiny and widespread criticism. It is claimed that rejection of the Irish peoples decision to vote no stands testament to the European Union’s lack of regard for democracy and lack of regard for the right of people of nation states to decide their futures.
The left wing republican party Sinn Féin is one party which opposes the current structure of the European Union and the direction it is moving in. Sinn Féin objects to the limitations and restrictions European Union membership has placed on the Republic of Ireland, as well as the European depletion of Irish sovereignty.
Long standing political figure and Veteran Irish presenter of radio and television, Gay Byrne is one prominent public figure in opposition to Ireland's membership of the EU, and to the unaccountable nature of the European Commission itself. A former favourite presidential candidate, he has come out in opposition to the Lisbon Treaty in both referenda, commenting of the 'Yes' campaign as being "sneaky, dishonest, under-handed".
Norway has rejected EU membership in two referendums, 1972 and 1994. The Centre Party, Christian Democratic Party, Socialist Left Party and the Liberal Party were against EU-membership in both referendums. The Centre Party and Socialist Left Party are also against the current membership in the European Economic Community. The Centre Party is generally considered to have the hardest stance against EU membership. The Liberal Party is currently quite split over the issue.
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The Left Party of Sweden was against accession to the European Union and still wants Sweden to leave the European Union. The Sweden Democrats are also strongly against the Union and favours withdrawal and rejoin the EEA. The Centre Party and Green Party are moderately sceptic towards the EU as well.
The June List, a eurosceptic list consisting of members from both the political right and left won three seats in the 2004 Elections to the European Parliament and sat in the EU-critical IND/DEM group in the European Parliament.
All political parties in Switzerland are against accession of Switzerland to the European Union, except the Social Democrats and some individuals.
United Kingdom 
Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom has been a significant element in British politics since the inception of the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor to the EU.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) was formed in 1993 and focuses on EU-withdrawal as its primary policy and receives significant support in European elections. It received 16.5% of the vote at the 2009 European Parliament elections, putting it in second place ahead of the then governing Labour Party.
The Conservative Party has campaigned against entry to the European Monetary Union and the Social chapter. The Conservative Party has for years been split on the issue of Europe, with some arguing for the full withdrawal subject to a referendum but many supporting the Union though powers should be sought back from Brussels and the Union should be less of a political and economic union.
The Labour Party membership is more eurosceptic than the party leadership, which is something the Conservative leadership has sought to exploit. Bernie Grant, a Labour Member of Parliament said that he was "totally pro-Commonwealth and anti-European Union".
The Communist Party of Britain and The Socialist Workers Party, neither of which have any considerable power or influence, with not one seat in Parliament nor in a local council, both criticise the European Union from an ultra-left perspective and their "scepticism" is a form of left-wing euroscepticism although its adherents may reject the term.
The Green Party of England and Wales, which has one seat in Parliament in the House of Commons, also rejects the term "eurosceptic"; however it opposes the Euro and is critical of the current direction and structure of the EU.
The far-right British National Party (BNP) is another strongly eurosceptic party that campaigns heavily for withdrawal. Two BNP candidates, Andrew Brons and Nick Griffin, were elected to the European Parliament in 2009.
See also 
- Kopel, David, Silencing opposition in the EU.
- Hannan, Daniel (14 November 2007). "Why aren't we shocked by a corrupt EU?". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-05-02.
- "Standard Eurobarometer 71 (fieldwork June–July 2009)" (pdf). European Commission. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
- Arato, Krisztina; Kaniok, Petr. Euroscepticism and European Integration. CPI/PSRC. p. 162. ISBN 978-953-7022-20-4.
- Harmsen et al (2005), p. 18.
- Gifford, Chris (2008). The Making of Eurosceptic Britain. Ashgate Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7546-7074-2.
- Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 7
- Lewis, Paul G; Webb, Paul D (2003). Pan-European Perspectives on Party Politics. Brill. p. 211. ISBN 978-90-04-13014-2.
- Harmsen et al. (2005), p. 31–2
- Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 8
- TNS Opinion and Social (July 2012). "Question A21a.2" (pdf). Standard Eurobarometer 77 Table of Results. European Commission. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
Question: "The interests of (OUR COUNTRY) are well taken into account in the EU."
- Total agree: 42%
- Total disagree: 50%
- TNS Opinion and Social (July 2012). "Question A14" (pdf). Standard Eurobarometer 77 Table of Results. European Commission. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
Question: "In general, does the EU conjure up for you a very positive, fairly positive, neutral, fairly negative of very negative image?
- Very positive: 3%
- Fairly positive: 28%
- Neutral: 39%
- Fairly negative: 22%
- Very negative: 6%
- TNS Opinion and Social (July 2012). Standard Eurobarometer 77 (fieldwork May 2012) (pdf). European Commission. p. 14. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- TNS Opinion and Social (July 2012). "Question A13" (pdf). Standard Eurobarometer 77 Table of Results. European Commission. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
Question: "QA13.4 I would like to ask you a question about how much trust you have in certain institutions. For each of the following institutions, please tell me if you tend to trust it or tend not to trust it:
- European Union:
- Tend to trust: 31%
- Tend not to trust: 60%
- Don't know: 9%
- National government (of respondent):
- Tend to trust: 28%
- Tend not to trust: 67%
- Don't know: 5%
- European Union:
- Hix, Simon; Noury, Abdul, After Enlargement: Voting Behaviour in the Sixth European Parliament (PDF).
- Kolyako, Nina. "Czech Republic is in no rush to implement euro". The Baltic Course. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Petr Mach zvolen do čela Strany svobodných občanů (in Czech), CZ: CT24, 14 February 2009.
- (in Czech), CZ: Svobodni, 2 May 2009 Výzva senátorům http://www.svobodni.cz/media/tiskove-zpravy/213-vyzva-senatorum/ Výzva senátorům Missing or empty
- Veřejné čtení Lisabonské smlouvy již tuto neděli (in Czech), CZ: Svobodni, 15 April 2009.
- EU Dodges Constitutional Hurdle as Czechs Back Treaty (Update 2), Bloomberg, 18 February 2009
- Postoje Svobodných – Evropa svobodných států (in Czech), CZ: Svobodni.
- "Européenes : l’UMP en tête, le PS en fort recul" (in French). Le Monde. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "Européenes : la dynamique inédite du eurosceptcism" (in French). Euros du village. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "Europe" (in French). Front National. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "Leur Europe n’est pas la nôtre !" (in French). NPA. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "L'Europe" (in French). Lutte Ouvrière. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "Sinn Féin Wants To Drag Ireland into Eurosceptic Slipstream of British Tory Party". Ireland for Europe: Media Centre. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "Republican SF argues treaty a further erosion of sovereignty". The Irish Times. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Column: Hollande wants to re-negotiate the treaty – but what does that mean for Ireland?". Thejournal.ie. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- (French) Dumont, Patrick; Fehlen, Fernand; Kies, Raphaël; Poirier, Philippe (2006). Les élections législatives et européennes de 2004 au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Chamber of Deputies. p. 220.
- NOU 2012: 2: Utenfor og innenfor (In Norwegian), Ministry of Foreign Affaires, retrieved 28 September 2012
- Szczerbiak et al (2008), p. 183.
- Gower, Jackie; Thomson, Ian, The European Union handbook, p. 80
- Harmsen, Robert; Spiering, Menno (2005). Euroscepticism: Party Politics, National Identity and European Integration. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-1946-1.
- Szczerbiak, Aleks; Taggart, Paul A. (2008). Opposing Europe?. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925830-7.
- Florian Hartleb: A thorn in the side of European elites: The new Euroscepticism, Centre for European Studies, Brussels 2011, (download: http://www.1888932-2946.ws/ComTool6.0_CES/CES/E-DocumentManager/gallery/Research_Papers/athornintheside-1.pdf)