How Do Eurosceptics Wage Opposition in the European Parliament? Patterns of Behaviour in the 8th Legislature

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Nathalie Brack and Anne-Sophie Behm
Palgrave Macmillan


Euroscepticism has become a persistent phenomenon in European politics and particularly in the EP. It is therefore crucial to understand how Eurosceptic MEPs behave within an institution they criticise or even totally oppose and how the differences between Eurosceptics can be explained. This contribution aims to shed light on these questions by analysing the parliamentary behaviour of opposing voices in the 8th EP legislature (2014–2019). The analysis shows that there are indeed diverging patterns of engagement among the three different types of opposition actors we identify. First, MEPs of the non-Eurosceptic, ‘loyal’ opposition aim to provide an alternative to the Grand Coalition and focus strongly on legislative but also scrutiny activities. Second, soft Eurosceptic MEPs, the ‘critical’ opposition, are less integrated in the EP, but still engage in parliamentary life. Finally, hard Eurosceptics can truly be identified as an ‘anti-system’ opposition, concentrating nearly exclusively on activities with a potential publicity character.


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