Why Are The British Eurosceptic?

What is Eurosceptic? – Love Europe – Hate the EU!

The term Euroscepticism or EU-scepticism is simply defined as the opposition to the European Union (EU). According to the Larousse dictionary as a noun or adjective, denotes or characterizes “a person who doubts the viability or usefulness of the European Union” (Le Petit Larousse, 2011, p.101). The word eurosceptic is formed by merging the prefix euro- respectively sceptic.

There are two different types of Eurosceptic thought;

  • Hard Euroscepticism: the opposition to membership of, or the existence of, the European Union as a matter of principle
  • Soft Euroscepticism: support for the existence of, and membership of, a form of European Union, but with opposition to specific EU policies, and opposition to a federal Europe or a European superstate.

Why The British Are Eurosceptic?

There are a few factors that shape the British mind when thinking of the EU. These factors contribute to the idea of Eurosceptic and why Britain has voted to leave the EU recently.

Eurosceptic Reason (1): Geography

Living on an island on the edge of the continent and having always been inspired by the oceans. Thus has its influence on how you see yourself in relation to the world around you. That’s why the British see Europe as another place. Although Britain has been involved in countless European wars, its history has been more orientated to other continents than that of any continental power.

Churchill famously told de Gaulle that, faced with a choice between the continent and le grand large, the British would always choose the wide open seas.

Eurosceptic Reason (2): History

Britain’s relatively glorious role in the Second World War plays a potent role in nourishing Euroscepticism.

Virtually every other major European nation has something to be ashamed of in that war. A lot of countries were on the wrong side. Others were conquered. And others stayed neutral. British popular culture is still heavily focused on the Second World War as the country’s ‘finest hour’. Other countries have moved on and supported the EU as a means of ensuring that the horrors of the Nazi period can never be repeated. But the British do not want to forget the history of which they feel proud.

Margaret Thatcher often said that the continent of Europe has been the source of most of Britain’s ills and that the Anglo-Saxon nations, and in particular the Americans, have repeatedly rescued Britain from those ills. Many Britons, especially the older generation, would agree with her. [1]

Eurosceptic Reason (3): Economy

Since the mid- the 1990s, the UK economy has out-performed the leading economies of Western Europe – France, Germany and Italy – by most measures. Britain has had relatively high growth and low unemployment. Its economy has some evident weaknesses, such as quite poor productivity. But Britain has appeared to benefit from the structural reforms of the Thatcher period, such as the liberalization of labor markets, the openness to foreign investment and – though this is now open to some challenge – the fostering of vibrant financial markets.

Eurosceptic Reason (4): The Media

The final factor that contributes to the dislike of the EU among the Britons is the powerful and Eurosceptic popular press. Anti-EU propaganda over many years, having permeated deep into Britain’s political culture, has made a major contribution to the shift in British public opinion since the late 1980s: the country has become more Eurosceptic.

This concludes the article and leaves you with a question; how do you feel about Britain’s role in Europe after the referendum?

Remember the British absolutely love Europe, however they very strongly dislike the EU

Your feedback and participation is highly appreciated.

Australia-Unwrapped Team

[1] Why is Britain Eurosceptic? By Charles Grant

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Main Image Source : Pixabay

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