Euroscepticism (also known as EU-scepticism or anti-EUism) is criticism of, or opposition to, the European Union (EU). Traditionally, the main source of Euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state, and a desire to slow, halt or reverse integration within the EU.

Eurosceptic A person who is opposed to increasing the powers of the European Union.

There can be considered to be two different types of Eurosceptic thought, which differ in the extent to which adherents reject European integration and in their reasons for doing so. Aleks Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart described these as hard and soft Euroscepticism

Hard Euroscepticism is the opposition to membership of, or the existence of, the European Union as a matter of principle. The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament, typified by such parties as the United Kingdom Independence Party, is hard Eurosceptic. In western European EU member countries, hard Euroscepticism is currently a hallmark of many anti-establishment parties.

Soft Euroscepticism is support for the existence of, and membership of, a form of European Union, but with opposition to specific EU policies, and opposition to a federal Europe or a European superstate. Soft Euroscepticism occurs where there is no objection to European integration or EU membership on principle, but where concerns on one (or a number) of policy areas lead to the expression of qualified opposition to the EU, or where there is a sense that national interest is at odds with the EU’s trajectory. The European Conservatives and Reformists group, typified by centre-right parties such as the British Conservative Party or Czech Civic Democratic Party, along with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left which is an alliance of the left-wing parties in the European Parliament, is soft Eurosceptic.

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UK Independence Party

Leader Nigel Farage