Emergence of Euroscepticism in EU Member States
German Vice-chancellor’s reaction was to claim the referendum as a bad day for Europe.14 Just after the Brexit results, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an emergency meeting of parliamentary leaders and discussed the future courses of action. Similarly, italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also called a crisis meeting and left his scheduled summit of party. French Prime Minister Francois Hollande also called a meeting and claimed it a leap forward of EU. He also showed reservations on emerging Euroscepticism with reference to Brexit.15
During last few years, many EU member states have witnessed a remarkable increase in support of anti-immigrant, populist and anti-establishment political parties. The people belonged to these parties or having their sympathy are often called as Eurosceptic. These are people who are more focused on national sovereignty and opposed the supremacy of Brussels. Although this is not a new phenomenon, but it is catalysed by few very important factors, including global economic crisis in 2008, Europe’s economic stagnation, Greek economic crisis, austerity aspects, terrorism, emergence of ISIS and influx of refugees. Recently, flow of immigrants increased their fears and doubts. Consequently, populist parties, with their anti-immigrant slogan magnetised the sentiments of voters. Furthermore, fear of losing national sovereignty and recent terrorist incidents in EU member states also played an important role in getting public confidence of these parties.
These populist parties are different in their nature as some of them are right or left, and Euroscepticism is also different having varied point ofviews about the EU. Some of them support the idea of reforms in the EU by making it less dominating on national sovereignty; some critics are against the Eurozone and some even question on the existence of EU by itself.
There is a great deal of increase of Eurosceptic political parties observed in Denmark, Austria, Finland, Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. A number of Eurosceptic parties increased their place in the EP elections in 2014 by getting up to 25% seats. As discussed earlier, some Eurosceptic political parties have been successful to get political gains. For instance, in Finland and Denmark, a comparatively modest Eurosceptic party has a coalition with government. In addition, a nationalist party in Poland with a big majority won the elections in October 2015 and leads the country.16
Emergence of Euroscepticism in Europe is big challenge for proEuropean parties as well as pro-EU advocates because it increases pressure on EU leaders on some essential issues of EU, including integration and migration policies. Many authors believe that the result of UK referendum was the reflection of sustained nationalist or anti-supranational ties.17 This situation is alarming for evolving Eurosceptic parties in France because it has been a most enthusiastic state of whole EU integration process.18
Mainly, the European leaders did not welcome the Brexit. French Minister Emmanuel Macron warned that British banks would disallow the benefit of European passport system, and some German leaders also showed similar responses. But mainly German politicians were less challenging for dealing with UK as a non-member according to their sustained partnership.
In Italy, one response by populist Five Star Movement was mainly Eurosceptic because this party was striving for referendum on membership on Eurozone for last few years by opposing EMU. Poland government had coalition with Eurosceptic, so it had a mixed response. As part of EU, their hundreds of thousand workers are in mainstream of UK’s workforce and they are willing to continue this partnership. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head Law and Justice Party, believed that the EU faced a crisis after Brexit and there is a requirement of new treaty that can settle out the outcomes of Brexit in EU member states. He also showed his reaction against many initiatives towards tighter integration.19 There were number of foreign ministers meetings on Brexit and the situations occurred after British exclusion from EU. These meetings were conducted in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands.20 The Russian President Putin’s response on Brexit was also mixed. During his visit to Uzbekistan he asserted that even Brexit will lead EU to the weakening, but situation will correct itself in the future.21