United in diversity: examining the diverging attitudes towards the European Union on the ideological fringes
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Despite their partial move towards the political mainstream, radical right and radical left parties are still habitually considered as ardently sceptical towards European Union. Recent scholarship has, however, observed that the nature of radical right and radical left Euroscepticism is not as uniform as previously expected. In this article, I provide support for the argument that both the radical right and the radical left family are, in terms of standpoints towards the European Union, united in diversity; both families include parties with a variety of positions, ranging from hardline Euroscepticism to soft criticism and acceptance. More importantly, the article also examines the possible reasons underlying these differences. Using the policy, office or votes-framework, it provides robust support for the view that radical right and radical left parties’ attitudes towards the current European integration process are shaped by their overall (sociocultural and socioeconomic) policy profiles rather than by office- or vote-seeking incentives.
KeywordsEuropean Union Euroscepticism Radical right Radical left Ideologies Political parties
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2017 Swedish Political Science Association (SWEPSA) Annual Conference in Karlstad. I thank the participants of the workshop ‘The European Union and the Challenges of a Transforming World Order’ for their comments. I am also grateful to the two anonymous referees for their reviews. The usual disclaimer applies.
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