Campaigning Against Europe? The Role of Euroskeptic Fringe and Mainstream Parties in the 2009 European Parliament Election.
In this article, we analyze political parties' campaign communication during the 2009 European Parliamentary election in 11 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK). We study which types of issues Euroskeptic fringe and Euroskeptic mainstream parties put on their campaign agendas and the kind and extent of EU opposition they voice. Further, we seek to understand whether Euroskeptic and non-Euroskeptic parties co-orient themselves toward each other within their national party systems with regard to their campaigns. To understand the role of Euroskeptic parties in the 2009 European Parliamentary elections, we draw on a systematic content analysis of parties' posters and televised campaign spots. Our results show that it is Euroskeptic parties at the edges of the political spectrum who discuss polity questions of EU integration and who most openly criticize the union. Principled opposition against the project of EU integration, however, can only be observed in the UK. Finally, we find indicators for co-orientation effects regarding the tone of EU mobilization: In national political environments where Euroskeptic parties strongly criticize the EU, pro-European parties at the same time publicly advance pro-EU positions.