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Pro-Europeanism is a political category applied to a person, a party or an organisation supporting the idea of European integration, mainly though not exclusively through the European Union (EU). Pro-Europeans or pro-Europeanists generally support further integration, specifically in the context of political argument over the current and future status of the EU and its policies.
The pro-European approach
Many pro-Europeans believe that strength in unity is particularly important in today's multipolar world. They argue that a united and independent Europe has become increasingly necessary, while a politically divided one would bring disadvantages in many areas, including the economic, cultural, political, social, scientific, diplomatic and military arenas. A major argument is the relative small size and importance of the individual European countries with respect to the current and rising powers on the world scale. The individual countries, they argue, would then have limited geopolitical influence and would be unable to represent their own interests effectively. On the other hand, a united Europe, with a population and an economy larger than that of the United States, would make a viable partner, or competitor, whose opinion and interests would be taken into account on the world stage.
Pro-European arguments often refer to what they see as the benefits of the EU to its member states. They argue that citizens enjoy benefits such as the right to free movement across the EEA and social benefits such as employment rights, and consumers benefit from greater choice and guaranteed standards. Such 'cost / benefit' assessments are not generally the only arguments to motivate them, as they also feel they belong to a community of people with common bonds. Further European integration and co-operation is seen as a peacemaking force.
Although pro-Europeans may not be satisfied with every aspect of the present organisation and workings of the EU institutions, they generally argue that the solution to any remaining problems lies not in destroying what has been built, but in pushing for improvements in terms of unity, transparency and democracy.
'Pro-European' vs 'Pro-EU'
Some people[who?] have argued that it is too simplistic to conflate the terms 'Europe' and 'EU'. It is argued that the term 'pro-European' should refer to someone who is in favour of European co-operation and cultural interchange in the wider geographical sense, as many eurosceptics are, while 'pro-EU' should be reserved for those who specifically support the broad political agenda involving a "deepening" of the EU. Both 'pro-EU' and 'pro-European' are nevertheless widely used interchangeably in informal speech to refer to someone who is positive about the European Union.
According to the latest Eurobarometers, there is a very positive attitude to EU-membership for example in Belgium and Denmark, although the latter has had a reputation for being "eurosceptic", opinions have changed there.
Many eurosceptics feel that the terms pro-European and anti-European are both propaganda terms used by the pro-EU media and politicians. They believe that being in favour of the EU is not a positive thing for Europe and therefore their euroscepticism is more pro-European than the pro-EU lobby's arguments.