United in opposition? The populist radical right’s EU-pessimism in times of crisis

2016-12-15T10:16:42Z (GMT) by Andrea L.P. Pirro Stijn van Kessel
Populist radical right (PRR) parties are typically critical of European integration. They deem the EU an elitist project and consider European integration a threat to national sovereignty. Our article assesses whether, and how, PRR parties have changed their ‘EU-pessimist’ discourse following the outbreak of the Global Financial Crisis. The crisis has ostensibly provided scope for PRR parties across Europe to bolster their EU-pessimism and place more emphasis on socioeconomic frames. We analyse the evolution of the PRR’s discourse in five countries. The article shows that, although PRR parties have generally brought the crisis into their discourses, they have responded to it in different ways, displaying varying degrees of EU-pessimism. These responses were partly informed by the opportunities provided by their contexts, but ostensibly more so by the strategic considerations of PRR party leaderships.