Pro-European is a subjective term applied to a person who supports the idea of European unification (mainly through the European Union (EU)) and generally supports further 'deepening' of European integration, specifically in the context of political argument over the current and future status of the EU and its policies. Since very few political parties in EU member states propose its abolition, and since there is no indication of major support at present for this drastic step, the majority of the EU population can be vaguely described as pro-European.

In practice the term is used as a de facto antonym of eurosceptic. In turn anti-European and the pejorative Europhobe are synonyms of Eurosceptic, and Europhile is often seen as an pejorative term for a pro-European. Some Eurosceptics would describe themselves as "pro-European" in the sense that they are not anti-Europe or anti-EU per se, although they would clearly not identify themselves as being pro-European in the sense described in this article. The precise meaning of these terms is often dependent on the context.

The Pro-European approach

Many pro-Europeans believe that strength in unity is particularly important in today's multipolar world. They argue that a united and independent Europe has become increasingly necessary, while a politically divided one would bring disadvantages in many areas, including economic, cultural, political, social, scientific, diplomatic and military. A major argument is the relative small size and importance of the individual European countries with respect to the current and rising powers on the world scale. The individual countries, they argue, would then have limited geopolitical influence and would be unable to represent their own interests effectively. On the other hand, a united Europe, with a population and an economy larger than that of the United States, would make a viable partner, or competitor, whose opinion and interests would be taken into account on the world stage.

Pro-European arguments often refer to what they see as the benefits of the EU to its member states. They argue that citizens enjoy benefits such as the right to free movement across the EEA and social benefits such as employment rights, and consumers benefit from greater choice and guaranteed standards. Such 'cost / benefit' assessments are not generally the only arguments to motivate them, as they also feel they belong to a community of people with common bonds. Further European integration and cooperation is seen as a peacemaking force.

Although pro-Europeans may not be satisfied with every aspect of the present organization and workings of the EU institutions, they generally argue that the solution to any remaining problems lies not in destroying what has been built, but in pushing for improvements in terms of unity, transparency and democracy.

'Pro-European' vs 'Pro-EU'

Some people have argued that it is too simplistic to conflate the terms 'Europe' and 'EU'. It is argued that the term 'pro-European' should refer to someone who is in favour of European co-operation and cultural interchange in the wider geographical sense (which many eurosceptics say that they are), while 'pro-EU' should be reserved for those who specifically support the broad political agenda involving a "deepening" of the EU. Despite this distinction, 'pro-EU' and 'pro-European' are used interchangeably in informal speech to refer to someone who is positive about the European Union.

See also


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