Atlantico: the geography of eurosceptic mood in the EU

Atlantico: география евроскептического настроя в ЕС

“Atlantico”: What conclusions can be drawn from the presented in this study card eurosceptic vote? What are the main characteristics of the areas where Euro-skepticism is especially strong?Thibault Musang: First of all, you should pay attention to the pursuit of sensation in the study, or at least how it was presented. Many of his conclusions correspond to works that were already published at the national level (Christoph Gilui, hervé Le Bras and David goodheart) and at the European level. I tried to do this in “Size classes”, whose updated version was released this year in English. That is, in fact, there is nothing new, except for the chosen study of the angle of the hostility to the European Union, which is rarely the deciding factor in the vote (of course, if you don’t count the UK in 2016).If you take into consideration all these factors, it becomes clear that euroskeptic vote, which is vote against, and often (but not always) corresponds to a populist vote, has mostly abandoned by the public authorities of areas with high unemployment and the degree of collapse of the industry. At the same time, large cities usually vote for the more cosmopolitan and Pro-European parties. It is perfectly visible on the example of Slovakia (and this is not the most eurosceptic country), where Bratislava and the surrounding region have become almost no-go area for right-wing populists, which have much greater support on the rest of the country, especially in the peripheral areas that have not jumped on the train of Europeanization.— One of the main conclusions of the study is that personal characteristics (wealth, age) mean less economic trends of the regions. Why eurosceptic vote is due in the first place trends, rather than the more often cited factors?— Populist vote (at least on the continent), is often associated with the collective experience: the inhabitants of these regions see the deterioration of living conditions, the gradual closure of enterprises, government, bars, etc. In such neglected areas eurosceptic vote was equally a protest and request for assistance: voters want to go back to the time when their factories were open, the civil service worked, and the community was proud and full of energy.In these communities, Europe is becoming one of the scapegoats accused of decline. Isn’t Europe opened the market for competitors from the East (at least in France and Italy)? Isn’t she the one pushed through economic restructuring, which resulted in social distress in Central Europe with the closure of the “socialist factories”, creating working place, but are unable to compete in a market economy? The simultaneity of events does not mean a causal relationship: the economic decline of these areas is associated primarily with large-scale transformation in the global economy (the proof of this is “rust belt” in the United States: there are observed the same symptoms). But this is of little concern to people who feel abandoned, a minority in their own country, and try to find the culprit for their troubles. The European Union, a symbol of cosmopolitanism and the victory of the urban centres on workers and peripheral areas, it is the perfect guilty, especially since the inhabitants of Brussels (or any other capital) “bubble” has not been paying attention the last 30 years.— What accounts for such large territorial differences in economic terms? How were they perceived by the population of regions?— It is not necessary to explain all the differences in voting only on geography, which, incidentally, indicate the authors of the study: eurosceptic vote is both geographical and sociological. Not all peripheral areas are experiencing economic and social decline. And where it is not observed, for the eurosceptics do not vote (the example is Evropeisky “hole” in the center of France).In addition to the tourism zones is to provide a peripheral industrial regions that are experiencing a decline since the late 1970-ies and actively support the populists and eurosceptics, and non-peripheral zone, where the transition in the new era became a positive or at least neutral point of view of employment and economic atmosphere. There is much less support for populism, although they often vote for the conservative party that can stick to the euroskeptic attitude (e.g. in the UK). Thus, there is not one but several types of euroskeptic vote.— On Thursday in Britain for the parliamentary elections. The risk for Europe is associated exclusively with the collapse of the Union? Or with a large territorial (and political) fragmentation within the European countries, examples of which were Catalonia and the “yellow jackets”?— The collapse is probably out of the question: recall that the Holy Roman Empire, which completely lost the meaning of existence after the reformation, was able to survive another 300 years before its abolition by decree of Napoleon. Anyway, we are now definitely witnessing a phase of very strong conflict of different social classes that have benefited or lost from economic change of the last decade (we often forget that the 2008 crisis was the catalyst of all social change and the associated polarization of the electorate).In connection with the growing tendency to form “ghettos” (even among the privileged strata) this polarization often reflected in the geographical realities that divide people, that could potentially lead to the outbreak of violence. So we need urgently to take at European and national level, a new strategy for restoration of the unity of societies, not only in economic but also in cultural terms. Otherwise scenes of violence that we have witnessed in recent months in Paris and Barcelona, are only the beginning.

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