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Right-wing Euroscepticism and populism: investigating the concept of ‘the people’


Journal abstract

Right-wing Eurosceptic political groups gained ground in the elections for the European Parliament in May 2014. The electoral victory of right-wing Euroscepticism was accompanied by a concern that populism is (once again) spreading in Europe. Associating right-wing Eurosceptics with populism raises the question of whether critiques of populism can be directly extended to right-wing Euroscepticism. By reconstructing the right-wing Eurosceptic concept of ‘the people,’ this article demonstrates that the Eurosceptic concept of the people has a dual meaning that encompasses both a transnational and a national concept of the people. The article concludes that while Euroscepticism shares ideological features with populism, it is problematic, due to the internal structure of the promoted concept of the people and the European political environment, directly to extend recent critiques of populism to right-wing Euroscepticism.

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