Soft Sceptics and Hard Rejectionists

Identifying two types of Eurosceptic voters

Authored by: André Krouwel , Yordan Kutiyski

The Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138784741
eBook ISBN: 9781315464015
Adobe ISBN:


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The outcome of the 8th European Parliament elections – held during the ongoing Eurozone economic and financial crisis – has weakened the mainstream traditional party groups. In spite of being a ‘second-order election’, often considered less important than ‘first-order’ national elections by voters, politicians and the media alike, the 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections were of crucial significance (Hix 2013). European citizens were given a first real opportunity to evaluate the effects of years of austerity policies implemented to address the Eurozone crisis and other responses of political elites to the financial crisis that unfolded since 2007. In general, an apparent shift to more-critical popular attitudes towards European integration and pooling of sovereignty in the Brussels parliament became visible. This surge of anti-European Union (EU) attitudes has recently culminated in the largely unexpected outcome – a majority ‘Leave’ vote in the 2016 United Kingdom EU membership referendum.

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