The 2014 EP Election and French Oppositions to the EU Since 1979: Evolution and Influence

  • Emmanuelle Reungoat
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


This chapter describes the diversity and evolution of oppositions to the European Union (EU) in France since the first EP election of 1979, while emphasizing and questioning the specificity of the 2014 European Parliament (EP) election. It explains how the European issue gained saliency, showing the normalization of EU criticism in the French political space and then its radicalization in 2014. The analysis reveals the weight of electoral rules in the shaping of the “eurosceptic” landscape, placing the 2014 success of the extreme-right National Front (FN) into that perspective. Assessing the effects of European integration on domestic political spaces, the chapter underlines how EP elections and the development of oppositions have contributed to reshaping the French domestic political arena while maintaining political conflicts there. Finally, in this perspective, the chapter questions the second-order model.


France • Extreme right • populism • radical left • europeanization • history of Europe • political parties • electoral rulesaaa 


  1. Belot, C., Cautrès, B., & Strudel, S. (2013). Europe as a polarising issue. Its effects on the Electoral Offer and voting preferences in the 2012 French Presidential Election. French Review of Political Science, 63(6), 1081–1112.Google Scholar
  2. Brack, N., & Startin, N. (2015). Introduction: Euroscepticism, from the margins to the mainstream. International Political Science Review, 36(3), 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conti, N. (2014). Party attitudes towards the EU in the member states. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Dezé, A. (2015). La construction médiatique de la ‘nouveautédu FN2. In S. Crepon, A. Dezé, & N. Mayer (Eds.), Les Faux-semblants du Front National. Paris: Presse de Science po.Google Scholar
  5. Dolez, B., & Laurent, A. (2010). La magnitude, facteur décisif ? Les élections européennes de 2004 en France et les effets du changement de mode de scrutin. Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée, 17(3), 175–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Down, I., & Wilson, C. (2008). From ‘permissive consensus to ‘constraining dissensus’: a polarizing union? Acta politica, 43(1), 26–49.Google Scholar
  7. Grunberg, G., & Haegel, F. (2007). La France vers le bipartisme ? La présidentialisation du PS et de l’UMP. Paris: Presses de Science Po.Google Scholar
  8. Harmsen, R. (2007). Is British Euroscepticsm still unique? National exceptionalism in comparative perspective. In J. Lacroix & R. Coman (Eds.), Les Résistances à l’Europe (pp. 69–72). Bruxelles: Edition de l’ULB.Google Scholar
  9. Harmsen, R., & Schild, J. (2011). Debating Europe. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  10. Heine, S. (2010). Eurosceptic or Eurocritical? Oppositions to the European Union in the French and German Left. Saarbrucken: Lap Lambert Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Kopecky, P., & Mudde, C. (2002). The two sides of Euroscepticism: Party positions on European Integration in East Central Europe. European Union Politics, 3(3), 297–326.Google Scholar
  12. Lacroix, J., & Coman, R. (2007). Les Résistances à l’Europe, Cultures nationales, idéologies et stratégies d’acteurs. Bruxelles: Edition de l’ULB.Google Scholar
  13. Ladrech, R. (2002). Europeanization and political parties: Towards a framework for analysis. Party Politics, 8(4), 387–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lindberg, L., & Scheingold, S. (1970). Europe’s would be Policy. Patterns of change in the European Community. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar
  15. Mair, P. (2000). The limited impact of Europe on national party systems. West European Politics, 23(4), 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mair, P. (2007). Political parties and party systems. In P. Graziano & M. Vink (Eds.), Europeanization: New research agendas (pp. 154–166). London: Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.Google Scholar
  17. Neumayer, L. (2008). Euroscepticism as a political label: The use of European Union issues in political competitions in the new Member States. European Journal of Political Research, 47(2), 135–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Reif, K., & Schmitt, H. (1980). Nine second-order national election—A conceptual framework for the analysis of EP elections results. European Journal of Political Research, 8(1), 3–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Reungoat, E. (2015). Mobilizing Europe in national competition: The case of the French Front National. International political Science Review, 36(3), 296–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shemer-Kunz, Y. (2013). European elections as a “Back Door” to national politics: The case of the French Greens in 2009. In B. Crum & J. E. Fossum (Eds.), Practices of inter-Parliamentary coordination in international politics (pp. 161–174). Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  21. Szczerbiak, A. (2008). Opposing Europe or problematizing Europe? Euroscepticismand ‘Eurorealism’ in the Polish Party System. In P. Taggart & A. Szczerbiak (Eds.), Opposing Europe (Vol. 2, pp. 221–242). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Taggart, P. (1998). A touchstone of dissent: Euroscepticismin contemporary Western European party system. European Journal of Political Research, 33(3), 363–388.Google Scholar
  23. Ysmal, C. (2000). Face à l’extrême droite, la droite existe-telle. In P. Bréchon, A. Laurent, & P. Perrineau (Eds.), Les Cultures politiques des Français (pp. 139–164). Paris: Presses de Science Po.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuelle Reungoat
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de Montpellier—CEPELMontpellierFrance

Personalised recommendations