The term Eurosceptic originated in the United Kingdom, and at first referred to those within the Labour Party and Conservative Party who were sceptical of their parties’ official support for UK membership of the then European Economic Community. Since then, the meaning has expanded, to cover general opposition to the European Union, to some or all of its policies, to the introduction of the euro, and to any future pan-European entity in the form of a superstate, a federation, or a confederation. The term entered other European languages as a loan word or calque, for instance Europaskepsis in German.
The issues on which eurosceptics focus vary from country to country.
In European countries outside the EU, eurosceptics focus attention on the perceived disadvantages of Union membership; for instance, in the case of Norway, the greatest concern is the effect of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. In those countries which are already members, but have chosen to retain independent currencies (the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden), Eurosceptics focus on the disadvantages of euro membership as well as on other aspects of involvement with the EU. Some arguments against the Economic and Monetary Union are built on complaints that the Growth and Stability Pact has been inconsistently applied, and on the recent underperformance of the eurozone when compared with those economies that have chosen to remain outside.
While many eurosceptics take issue with particular characteristics of the EU as it stands, some maintain in principle that the very concept of the EU is an invention of bureaucrats seeking to create a bureaucratic and undemocratic superstate.
Eurosceptics often propose either radical modifications to the structure of the EU, including more influence for national parliaments, or the withdrawal of their country from the Union altogether.
The Union for Europe of the Nations Group is also eurosceptic as are some parties within the left-wing Confederal Group of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left and the European Greens–European Free Alliance. The UK’s largely eurosceptic Conservative Party are currently part of the European People's Party–European Democrats grouping in the European Parliament, which has mainly a pro-European agenda. However the party is currently committed to withdrawing from the EPP as soon as a new grouping, to be entitled Movement for European Reform, can recruit enough members to be viable.
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