Euroscepticism on the Rise But to Varying Degrees

Republikon Institute used data available from Eurobarometer to construct three categories among voting-age population in Europe: eurosceptics, who are dissatisfied with Europe; “soft eurooptimists”, who, in general, are comfortable with the depth of European integration, and “federalists”, who would give more power to Brussels. The Institute then looked at the ratio of these categories in different countries – with a special focus on Central Eastern Europe.

Central Eastern Europe is traditionally one of the most pro-European regions on the continent; with the exception of the Czech Republic, a traditionally eurosceptic nation, countries in this region always considered the European project more than just an economic initiative. Historical, cultural and ideological reasons all played a part in making Eastern European countries very pro-European.

Even with the rise of eurosceptic ideas, countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Poland have relatively low levels of eurosceptics. The Baltic region, because of obvious security implications, is also very pro-European. The Czech Republic, in this regard, is very different from the rest of the region: 44 percent of the population could be considered eurosceptic by this research.

In Hungary, the nationalistic government of Viktor Orbán managed to transform a previously very pro-European country to an “average” one with regards to attitudes towards European integration. The Hungarian numbers thus resemble European averages – and show a higher degree of euroscepticism than elsewhere in the region. The younger, more affluent, more urban and more liberal voters tend to be more enthusiastic towards Europe – while supporters of the far-right Jobbik party overwhelmingly share eurosceptic sentiments.

Republikon Institute