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Euroscepticism refers to opposition to further European integration, coupled sometimes with a desire to roll back integration already accomplished. In this context, its antonym is europhile.

Euroscepticism is stronger in wealthier European countries, either full European Union members (UK, Sweden, Denmark), candidate (Malta) and non-candidate (Switzerland, especially in German-speaking cantons). Mediterranean countries tend to be more europhile, although eurosceptic movements exist there, too.

Precisely what eurosceptics oppose varies from country to country: in countries outside the European Union (e.g. Norway, Switzerland, the candidate countries), euroscepticism manifests itself as opposition to joining it (in the case of Norway, the most serious concern is disagreement with current EU fishery policies); in those which are members, but do not participate in the Euro (the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden) it manifests itself as opposition to Euro membership. Opposition to monetary union can, in turn, be rooted in economic concerns which are predominantly right wing (UK) or predominantly left wing (Sweden).

Eurosceptics oppose the idea of a federal Europe in the sense of a federation that is as integrated as, or more closely integrated than, the United States of America. They therefore oppose measures they see as leading towards that goal, such as the European Rapid Reaction Force[?], the constitutionalisation of the treaties, the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor (or even the establishment of EUROJUST), the extension of EUROPOL to include enforcement powers, the harmonization of taxation or social security, and the extension of codecision or qualified majority voting. They often propose radical modifications to the constitutional structure of the EU to reassert the power of national parliaments, such as the establishment of a chamber of national parliamentarians with power to overturn any Community act, including even decisions of the European Court of Justice.

Euroscepticism might have been the cause (at least in part) for:

In the case of the UK, most newspapers are strongly Eurosceptic and have been known to publish many anti-EU stories that the European Union and their Europhile supporters feel are inaccurate or have been invented. In response they have created web sites to refute and/or explain the actual details. [1] (http://www.cec.org.uk/press/myths/index.htm)

Eurosceptics have also created their own to show their arguments[2] (http://www.euro-sceptic.org). Commonly, UK Eurosceptic tabloids also tend to play on former conflicts and national stereotypes to denigrate the UK's European neighbours. For this reason (among others), they have often been accused of being xenophobic.

Euroscepticism is an important current of opinion within the UK Conservative party to a greater extent than in any comparably important political party in any other EU member state. Many commentators have asserted this to be an important reason why the conservatives lost the British General Election of 2001. Other commentators argue that the British electorate was more strongly influenced by domestic social policy issues than by European affairs. This disagreement is illuminated by the result of the 1999 election for the European Parliament, in which the Conservative Party was unsuccessfully challenged by a breakaway Pro-Euro Conservative Party.

In the aftermath of the electoral defeat of the UK Conservatives in 2001, the issue of eurosceptism was important in the contest to succeed William Hague as party leader. The winning candidate, Iain Duncan Smith, was widely seen as even more eurosceptic than his precessor and fears were expressed that his victory could result in a significant defection of europhile conservative support and the transformation of the Conservative Party into a marginal, single issue, party committed to leaving the EU.

Once in office as opposition leader, Iain Duncan Smith attempted to secure the disaffiliation of British Conservative Members of the European Parliament from the federalist European Peoples' Party grouping. In order to continue to maintain membership of a pan-european alliance, as is required to retain parliamentary privileges, Duncan Smith sought the merger of Tory MEPs into the eurosceptic UEN grouping. This move was vetoed by Tory MEPs partly on account of the degree of euroscepticism represented by this move and partly because of the presence within the UEN of representatives of neo-fascist parties.

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