logo

A Method for Appraising Euroscepticism

Abstract

While exploring euroscepticism many researchers attempt to standardize the research procedure in order to improve the accuracy of the analysis. This paper presents a method to calculate the Index of attitude to European integration based on the content analysis of party programs and politicians’ declarations. This is a way to quantify the attitude of a party to the EU as a whole (1­13 points) or to specific activities of the organization by different policy domains, as well as the coherence of criticism of the EU from domain to domain. The following parameters should be measured to achieve these goals: a party's attitude to the general idea of European integration, affective and instrumental support of the EU, perception of the EU as an (un­)accountable organization. The given estimation procedure allocates different values for actors with distinct attitude to the EU role (demanding decommunitarization, not supporting the EU without requests for reforms, calling for policy changes with the same amount of powers at the EU level, supporting it without reform requests, calling for further communitarization). Content analyses of the programmes of three British parties (the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the United Kingdom Independence Party) demonstrate that the Index is instrumental and allow to measure the level of Euroscepticism, the coherence of an actor’s position on different EU policies, dynamics of actor’s attitude to the EU and to compare different parties’ ideologies. Estimations made by leading Russian experts in the research of the political parties of Great Britain correspond to the indicators of instrumental support included in the Index, thereby confirming its relevance.

Keywords:

European  Union;  political  party;  Euroscepticism;  quantitative  methods;  Conservative  party;  Labour party; United Kingdom Independence Party.


Authors: Nikolay Kaveshnikov. Aleksey Domanov

Read the article in PDF