Gaining Votes in Europe against Europe? How National Contexts Shaped the Results of Eurosceptic Parties in the 2014 European Parliament Elections

Vincenzo Emanuele, Nicola Maggini, Bruno Marino


In the wake of the harshest economic crisis since 1929, in several European countries there has been a rise of Eurosceptic parties that oppose EU integration. The 2014 European Parliament elections were a fundamental turning point for these parties. In this article, after a theoretical discussion on the concept of Euroscepticism, we provide an updated classification of Eurosceptic parties after the 2014 European Parliament elections. We show the cross-country variability of such parties’ results and present two hypotheses aiming at explaining Eurosceptic parties’ results, one related to each country’s economic context and one related to each country’s political-institutional context. Through a comparative approach and the use of quantitative data, we test the two hypotheses by creating two standardised indices of economic and political-institutional contexts. Three important findings are shown: Eurosceptic parties perform better in either rich, creditor countries or in poor countries; Eurosceptic parties perform better in countries with peculiar political-institutional features, such as high levels of party system instability and a more permissive electoral system; finally, and crucially, favourable political-institutional contexts seem to be more important than favourable economic contexts for Eurosceptic parties’ electoral results


European Parliament; EP elections; Euroscepticism; political parties

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