Over the past year, I have been working with various colleagues across Europe to produce a special issue of the Journal of Common Market Studies on Euroscepticism. This week, the issue became available on Early View, including the article that I co-authored with Nick Startin (Bath) as an opening argument, on “Euroscepticism as a Persistent Phenomenon.”
In it, we argue that in the two decades since the emergence of the European Union at Maastricht there has been a concerted attempt to build a European political space, typified by the debates on constitutionalization and democratization. Much less noticed, but no less important, has been the mobilization of publics, interest groups and political parties against the integration process. In the light of the failure to realize the Laeken objectives, the stabilization of an anti-integration bloc in the European Parliament, recurrent ‘no’ votes in national referendums and the emergence of an increasingly co-ordinated movement of critical interest groups, it is argued that this opposition has become embedded and persistent, at both European and national levels. This will have considerable consequences for the Union itself and the way it has chosen to largely ignore sceptical voices to date.
This leads on to articles on a wide range of contemporary manifestations of scepticism: from the global financial crisis to public opinion in new member states, from party politics to the potential for an engagement with pro-Europeans.
Behind the project lies an intention of building engagement more generally: without this, there cannot be a stable long-term development of the European Union. With this in mind, I’ve also been busy organising some events on this theme.
Firstly, tonight, I am ‘in conversation’ with my co-author Nick Startin on the impact of the eurozone crisis on euroscepticism, here at the University of Surrey. Everyone’s welcome and it’s free, but you’ll need to register here: http://crisisintheeurozone-efbevent.eventbrite.co.uk/.
Secondly, I’m been working with the European Parliament office in London on an event on 21 November for Parliament Week, entitled “Democracy listens to dissent – what have eurosceptics done for the EU?”. Here we’re going to be bringing together some different eurosceptic perspectives for a debate, to see where any common ground might exist. More details and (free) registration here: http://www.europarl.org.uk/view/en/Events/EP_Events_2012/Parliament_week.html
I hope you enjoy the special issue and that we can get you along to our events.