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Anti-Europeanism and Euroscepticism in the United States

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  • Patrick Chamorel
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    This paper documents and tries to explain the rise of anti-European and Eurosceptical sentiment in the United States since the end of the Cold War. Contrary to anti-Europeanism, which has always permeated American culture and underpinned American exceptionalism, Euroscepticism is more confined to political and business elites and targets the process, main policies and identity of the European Union. Although usually conservative, Anti-Europeans and Eurosceptics do not necessarily overlap: anti-Europeans are Eurosceptical but the reverse is not necessarily true. However, Anti-Europeanism and Euroscepticism have become entrenched beliefs among many conservatives. Europe's positive image since WWII and the wide support for European unification among American elites, have been replaced by competing views: for example, neo-conservatives believe Europe to be in economic, demographic and cultural decline that the EU only precipitates. Others see a unifying Europe as a rising power which will become more a rival than an ally for the US. Since the early 1990s and increasingly until the war in Iraq, conservative commentators have attacked the style and content of European foreign policy, especially with regard to the Middle-East, Europe's weak defence budgets, its lack of resolve against terrorism, its welfare state and highly regulated economy, its left-leaning political culture, its growing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. The centralizing, elitist and regulatory aspects of the EU have also been denounced to justify Euroscepticism.The paper reviews and discusses possible explanations for such trends: a backlash against rising anti-Americanism in Europe? The projection of US domestic politics? The import of British Euroscepticism? The demise of communism and the Soviet Union and the common threat they represented? America's new hegemonic ambitions? The rising influence of American conservatives? Clashes over globalization? A resurgent awareness of deep differences in political and economic cultures, which help cast Europe as the anti-model? The answer lies most likely in a combination of such factors.

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    Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 25.

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    Date of creation: 15 Nov 2004
    Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0141
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