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To date, most accounts of the UK’s vote to leave the EU have focussed on explaining variation across individuals and constituencies within the UK. In this article, we attempt to answer a different question, namely ‘Why was it the UK that voted to leave, rather than any other member state?’. We show that the UK has long been one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the EU, which we argue can be partly explained by Britons’ comparatively weak sense of European identity. We also show that existing explanations of the UK’s vote to leave cannot account for Britons’ long-standing Euroscepticism: the UK scores lower than many other member states on measures of inequality/austerity, the ‘losers of globalisation’ and authoritarian values, and some of these measures are not even correlated with Euroscepticism across member states. In addition, we show that the positive association between national identity and Euroscepticism is stronger in the UK than in most other EU countries. Overall, we conclude that Britons’ weak sense of European identity was a key contributor to the Brexit vote.
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Article
European but not
European enough: An
explanation for Brexit
Noah Carl
Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
James Dennison
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European
University Institute, Florence, Italy
Geoffrey Evans
Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Abstract
To date, most accounts of the UK’s vote to leave the EU have focussed on explaining
variation across individuals and constituencies within the UK. In this article, we attempt
to answer a different question, namely ‘Why was it the UK that voted to leave, rather
than any other member state?’. We show that the UK has long been one of the most
Eurosceptic countries in the EU, which we argue can be partly explained by Britons’
comparatively weak sense of European identity. We also show that existing explana-
tions of the UK’s vote to leave cannot account for Britons’ long-standing
Euroscepticism: the UK scores lower than many other member states on measures
of inequality/austerity, the ‘losers of globalisation’ and authoritarian values, and some of
these measures are not even correlated with Euroscepticism across member states. In
addition, we show that the positive association between national identity and
Euroscepticism is stronger in the UK than in most other EU countries. Overall, we
conclude that Britons’ weak sense of European identity was a key contributor to the
Brexit vote.
Corresponding author:
Noah Carl, Nuffield College, New Road, Oxford, OX11NF, UK.
Email: noah.carl@nuffield.ox.ac.uk
European Union Politics
0(0) 1–23
!The Author(s) 2018
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/1465116518802361
journals.sagepub.com/home/eup
Keywords
Brexit, European identity, Euroscepticism, losers of globalisation, United Kingdom
England thus asked in turn to enter, but on her own conditions. This poses without
doubt to each of the six states, and poses to England, problems of a very great
dimension. England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her
exchanges, her markets, her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most
distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and
only slight agricultural ones. She has in all her doings very marked and very original
habits and traditions. In short, the nature, the structure, the very situation that are
England’s differ profoundly from those of the continentals.
—Charles de Gaulle, January 1963,
explaining his veto on British membership of the European Economic Community
Introduction
Since the United Kingdom’s referendum on European Union membership on 23
June 2016, at least four major explanations have been put forward for the vote to
leave. The first explanation attributes the result to relatively short-run campaign
effects; the second cites economic inequality and fiscal austerity policies; the third
invokes the so-called ‘losers of globalisation’; and the fourth appeals to Leave
voters’ authoritarian values. Although several of these explanations offer consid-
erable insight into why individuals voted the way they did, none of them provides
an empirically valid account of why the United Kingdom (UK), rather than any
other member state, voted to leave. In this article, we argue that Britons’ compar-
atively weak sense of European identity partly explains why the UK has long been
one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the European Union (EU). We further
argue that, as the EU moved closer toward political union and immigration into
the UK increased, the UK’s fundamentally less European identity meant that more
than 50% of voters opted for Leave in the referendum.
Our article contributes to the burgeoning literature on Brexit (e.g. Clarke et al.,
2017; Evans and Menon, 2017; Hobolt, 2016) by providing an all-important com-
parative perspective. Indeed, whereas most existing accounts of the UK’s vote to
leave the EU have focussed on explaining variation across individuals and constit-
uencies within the UK, we attempt to answer a different question namely, ‘Why
was it the UK that voted to leave, rather than any other member state?’. By
presenting evidence from both multi-level models and cross-country analyses, we
show that Britons’ weak sense of European identity was a key contributor to the
Brexit vote. Specifically, we use fixed-effects models to show that strength of
national (rather than European) identity can explain nearly a third of the gap in
2European Union Politics 0(0)
Euroscepticism between the UK and other member states, whereas socio-economic
characteristics and measures of losing out from globalisation can only explain
about 10% of the gap. We then use models with cross-level interaction effects to
demonstrate that national identity has a stronger association with Euroscepticism
in the UK than in most other member states. Finally, we use country-level data to
confirm that strength of national identity is the only measure that satisfies two
conditions necessary for explaining Brexit: first, being correlated with
Euroscepticism across EU countries; and second, being a measure on which the
UK (the only member state to leave) appears exceptional.
Explaining the Brexit vote
This section describes the existing explanations for Brexit, explains why they are
insufficient, and introduces our hypothesis that Britons’ weak sense of European
identity accounts for their long-standing Euroscepticism. One popular explanation
for Brexit is that voters were swayed by the misleading arguments and incendiary
tone of the Leave campaign. For example, Lewis (2016) contends that the Leave
campaign––unfettered by the advertising standards that regulate non-political
campaigns––‘lied to us’ and ‘won by pretending there are simple answers to our
problems’. Similarly, Yeung (2016) cites legal arguments promulgated by the aca-
demic Michael Dougan, according to whom the Leave campaign used ‘dishonesty
as a primary tool to win votes’. Particularly notable in this regard is the Leave
campaign’s claim that ‘we send the EU £350 million per week’, which was even
criticised by the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority (Norgrove, 2017).
Why is this explanation insufficient? To begin with, it has already been chal-
lenged by other scholars. Clarke et al. (2016) applied dynamic factor analysis to the
results of 121 Internet and phone polls carried out during 2016 and found that
Leave may have had the lead throughout the entire campaign, which suggests that
provocative statements made by Leave campaigners (e.g. Nigel Farage, Boris
Johnson) are unlikely to have exerted decisive sway over prospective voters.
Moreover, as Becker et al. (2017) point out, most of the district-level variation
in support for Leave can be explained by demographic and economic variables that
are not malleable in the short-term. Indeed, the balance of support for Leave
versus Remain did not change much during the two years prior to the referendum;
both remained at around 40% until the summer of 2015, when opinion began to
crystallise, and the fraction answering ‘don’t know’ took a downward trend (Evans
and Prosser, 2016). Finally, this explanation fails to account for the fact that the
UK has long been one of the most––if not the most––Eurosceptic countries in
the EU.
A second explanation posits that the vote to leave was not the expression of
Euroscepticism per se, but was rather a proxy for voters’ frustrations over low
living standards, income inequality and cuts to public services. Dorling (2016: 1–2)
contends that we should blame austerity not immigration for the referendum deci-
sion, arguing that deteriorating social spending, coupled with high levels of
Carl et al. 3
economic inequality, impelled Britons to opt for Leave. He concludes that ‘to
distract us from these national failings, we have been encouraged to blame immi-
gration and the EU’. Similarly, Bernstein (2016) points to the cross-country cor-
relation between fiscal austerity and rises in unemployment, before concluding
that––through the ‘fiscal malpractice’ of budget austerity––the government
‘played a role in bringing us Brexit’. Why is this explanation insufficient?
Although poorer areas of the UK were indeed more likely to support Leave
(Becker et al., 2017), measures of Euroscepticism show little correlation with
measures of inequality and austerity across EU member states––as we show in
the Analysis section. In addition, neither ‘austerity’ nor ‘inequality’ was among the
most frequently cited reasons for voting Leave (Lord Ashcroft, 2016; Prosser
et al., 2016).
A third explanation focuses on a group that has been dubbed the ‘losers of
globalisation’: older, white, economically disadvantaged individuals who have
turned against a political class they regard as privileged and out-of-touch, and
who reject recent changes in British society that have left them economically and
socially marginalised (Clarke et al., 2017; Curtice, 2016; Ford, 2016). These indi-
viduals, who lack the skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace, osten-
sibly voted for Brexit as way to protest against the economic consequences of
globalisation: post-industrial decline, mass immigration and sweeping cultural
change (see Evans and Menon, 2017). For example, Hobolt (2016: 1259) demon-
strates that all of the commonly cited characteristics of these ‘left behind’ voters––
older age, less education, lower income, less trust in politicians, more populist
political attitudes––were positively associated with voting Leave. She concludes
that ‘anti-immigration and anti-establishment sentiments [...] produced the refer-
endum outcome’. Likewise, Goodwin and Heath (2016: 9) examine correlates of
the Leave vote share at the district-level, and conclude that
the vote for Brexit was delivered by the ‘left behind’—social groups that are united by
a general sense of insecurity, pessimism and marginalisation, who do not feel as
though elites [...] share their values, represent their interests and genuinely empathise
with their intense angst.
A fourth explanation lays stress on the authoritarian values of Leave voters, as
opposed to the more liberal values of Remain voters. Specifically, Kaufmann
(2016) shows that the individual-level correlation between authoritarian social
attitudes and voting Leave is higher than the individual-level correlation between
socio-demographic characteristics and voting Leave. In direct contrast to the
second explanation, he concludes that ‘all told, the Brexit story is mainly about
values, not economic inequality’ (Kaufmann, 2016). Likewise, Evans and Menon
(2017) present evidence that both anti-immigration attitudes and voting to Leave
were strongly influenced by voters’ social conservativism.
Although both the third and fourth explanations provide considerable insight
into individual-level voting dynamics, they too are insufficient. The reason being
4European Union Politics 0(0)
that they purport to explain a national-level phenomenon––the UK’s vote to
leave––purely with reference to sub-national level variance within the UK itself.
When these explanations are tested using cross-national data, they do not receive
empirical support: individuals who have lost out from globalisation, as well as
those with authoritarian values, can be found in greater numbers in other, less
Eurosceptic member states.
We argue instead that the UK’s vote to leave stems, at least in part, from
Britons’ comparatively weak sense of European identity. Scholars have long
noted the importance of national (rather than European) identity as a predictor
of Eurosceptic attitudes (Hooghe and Marks, 2005; McLaren, 2004). As to the
referendum result itself, Dennison and Carl (2016) show that the percentage of the
population with an exclusively national self-identity is higher in the UK than in all
other EU member states, which they attribute to specific aspects of the country’s
history and geography (and see Evans et al., 2017). Similarly, Curtice (2017: 21)
points out that, ‘[d]uring 40 years of membership, few in Britain have taken the
European project to heart, as indicated by their low level of willingness to
acknowledge a European identity’. He goes on to show that the percentage of
Britons identifying as European remained stubbornly low over the 24 years of
EU membership spanning 1992 to 2016 (and see Henderson et al., 2017 on specif-
ically English identity).
Why should a weaker sense of European identity lead someone to adopt
Eurosceptic attitudes? There appear to be at least two key mechanisms. First, an
individual with a weaker sense of European identity will be less likely to perceive
supra-national EU institutions as legitimate, and hence will be more inclined to
oppose the transfers of powers from her own national parliament. Second, that
same individual will be less likely to feel solidarity towards other Europeans––
individuals who have immigrated from the EU, as well as those living in other EU
member states. Consequently, she will be more inclined to oppose the redistribu-
tion of funds outside her national community, and will be less inclined to support
immigration from other EU member states. For a detailed discussion of the the-
oretical mechanisms by which weaker European identity leads to Euroscepticism,
see Carey (2002), Hobolt (2016), Hooghe and Marks (2005).
British Euroscepticism
This section provides evidence that the UK has long been one of the most––if not
the most––Eurosceptic countries in the EU. By this, we mean that, over the last 40
years, a higher fraction of the British public, as well as a higher fraction of the
British political elite, have held Eurosceptic attitudes than in most or all other
member states.
1
The long-standing nature of the UK’s relative Euroscepticism
arguably suggests that any comprehensive explanation for the Brexit vote would
need to invoke similarly long-standing factors.
In social surveys, Britons have consistently ranked among the least favourable
towards further EU integration, among the most mistrustful of EU institutions,
Carl et al. 5
and among the least sanguine about their country’s membership of the EU overall
(Fitzgerald and Sibley, 2016; ORB, 2014; Raines et al., 2017). Since 1973, the
Eurobarometer has asked EU citizens whether their country’s membership is a
‘bad thing’ or a ‘good thing’ (European Commission, 2018a; European
Parliament, 2018b). Figure 1 plots the net opinion on this question in 27 EU
countries from 1973 to 2016 (net opinion was calculated as the percentage
saying their country’s membership of the EU is a ‘bad thing’ minus the percentage
saying it is a ‘good thing’). The UK is shown in red. Although a few other coun-
tries have scored higher than the UK in some years, the UK has the highest aver-
age score out of all the countries shown.
2
Its average is –8 percentage points,
whereas the next highest average score, for Austria, is –13 percentage points.
Anderson and Hecht (2018) assemble long-run series of public attitudes to the
EU for the UK, France, Germany and Italy, and document that Britons have
been consistently less positive toward the EU than citizens of the other
three countries.
Even more compelling evidence for our claim that Britons’ Euroscepticism is
somewhat exceptional can be found in the 2016 wave of the European Social
Survey. Respondents living in 17 EU member states were asked how they would
vote in a (hypothetical) referendum on EU membership (European Social Survey,
−100 −80 −60 −40 −20 0 20 40
Net opinion on whether EU membership is a bad thing
1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Figure 1. Net opinion on whether EU membership is a ‘bad thing’ in 27 EU countries, 1973–
2016. The UK is shown in red. All other countries are shown in blue. Data are from the
Eurobarometer (2018a).
6European Union Politics 0(0)
2016). The results are shown in Table 1. Whereas 48% of British respondents said
they would vote to leave (which is of course slightly lower than the 52% who
ultimately did so), none of the 16 other EU countries surveyed even comes close
to 50%. In the next most Eurosceptic country, the Czech Republic, only 33% of
respondents said they would vote to leave.
Furthermore, the UK has long had an anomalously Eurosceptic political and
media elite. Prior to the referendum, 159 out of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs)
endorsed Leave––a minority, but likely more than would endorse a vote to leave in
many other member states’ parliaments. In fact, the UK had the highest propor-
tion of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) belonging to Eurosceptic
factions in 2015 (Ehrenberg, 2015): 60% of British MEPs belonged to the
European Conservatives and Reformists or the Europe of Freedom and Direct
Democracy, compared to only 39% of MEPs in the next most Eurosceptic coun-
try. (Although it should be noted that not every MEP who belongs to a
Eurosceptic faction holds Eurosceptic attitudes.) When in government, British
politicians have frequently pursued a non-integrationist European policy, eschew-
ing integration in more areas than any other member state, including the Schengen
agreement, the Euro, the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, the Charter of
Table 1. Percentages who would vote Remain and Leave
in a (hypothetical) referendum on EU membership.
Country Remain Leave
UK 52 48
Czech Republic 67 33
Italy 71 29
Finland 72 28
Austria 74 26
Sweden 75 25
France 76 24
Netherlands 78 22
Slovenia 81 19
Hungary 84 16
Belgium 84 16
Portugal 84 16
Germany 88 12
Lithuania 88 12
Ireland 89 11
Poland 91 9
Spain 91 9
Note: Sample weights were applied. Responses other than ‘Remain’
or ‘Leave’ were excluded. Note that the question put to British
respondents was not phrased in terms of a ‘hypothetical’ referen-
dum. Data are from the European Social Survey (2016).
Carl et al. 7
Fundamental rights, and the Fiscal Stability Treaty (George, 2007; Gowland and
Turner, 1998; Von Ondarza, 2013).
3
In addition, the UK has for some time had an
almost uniquely Eurosceptic press (Grant, 2008). Prior to the referendum, 8 of the
23 most widely read newspapers (including the two most widely read: The Sun and
the Daily Mail) endorsed Leave, while 10 of those 23 endorsed Remain. Weighting
by circulation, 50% of British national newspapers endorsed Leave, while only
33% endorsed Remain (Ponsford, 2016). It should be noted that the Eurosceptic
slant of British newspapers reflects not only the Eurosceptic attitudes of some elite
opinion makers, but also the Eurosceptic attitudes of many consumers.
Analysis
This section argues that one important reason why Britons tend to be so
Eurosceptic is that they have a weaker sense of European identity than their
counterparts in other EU member states. By this, we mean that, over the last 40
years, a higher fraction of the British population has identified exclusively with
their nationality, and a correspondingly lower fraction has identified as European.
While people with an exclusively national self-identity can be found in countries
across the EU, there have tended to be more of them in the UK than in most or all
other member states.
Note that in statistical terms, there are two ways in which the UK could con-
ceivably be different from the other EU countries: first, the UK could have a lower
average level of support for the EU (i.e. an ‘intercept difference’); and second,
factors such as national identity could play out differently in the UK (i.e. a ‘slope
difference’). We investigate both of these two possibilities in the analyses
that follow.
Since 1992, the Eurobarometer survey has asked EU citizens whether they see
themselves more as members of their nationality or more as Europeans (Carey,
2002; European Commission, 2018a; McLaren, 2004; Ormston, 2015).
Respondents answer on a four-point scale: ‘nationality only’, ‘nationality first,
then European’, ‘European first, then nationality’, or ’European only’. Figure 2
plots the percentage of respondents who identify with their nationality only for all
28 EU member states from 1992 to 2016. Britons have had a consistently weaker
sense of European identity than their counterparts in other EU countries.
4
Once
again, the UK has the highest average score. Its average is 61 percentage points,
whereas the next highest average score, for Greece, is only 50 percentage points.
Note that Britons’ weaker sense of European identity is reflected in the reasons
that Remain voters gave for voting Remain. In a poll on the day of the referen-
dum, Remain voters were asked to rank four reasons that may have motivated
their voting decisions in order of importance (Lord Ashcroft, 2016). The most
important reason, ranked first by 43% of respondents, was: ‘the risks of voting
to leave the EU looked too great when it came to things like the economy, jobs and
prices’. And by far the least important reason, ranked first by only 9% of respond-
ents, was: ‘a strong attachment to the EU and its shared history, culture and
8European Union Politics 0(0)
traditions’. These findings were replicated in another survey carried out in the
spring of 2018 (see Carl, 2018a).
Overall, it appears that Britons have a weaker sense of European identity than
their counterparts in other EU member states, and that this has been the case at
least since the early 1990s. We proceed to show that Britons’ weaker sense of
European identity partly explains why the UK is so Eurosceptic (see Curtice,
2017; Dennison and Carl, 2016). We do this by means of three separate analyses.
First, we use UK/non-UK fixed-effects models to show that socio-economic char-
acteristics and measures of losing out from globalisation can explain only 0–17%
of the gap in Euroscepticism between the UK and other member states, whereas
strength of national (rather than European) identity can explain 17–41% of the
gap. Second, we use models with cross-level interaction effects to demonstrate that
national identity has a stronger association with Euroscepticism in the UK than in
most other member states. Third, we use country-level data to confirm that
strength of national identity is the only measure that satisfies two criteria necessary
for explaining Brexit: first, being correlated with Euroscepticism across EU coun-
tries; and second, being a measure on which the UK appears exceptional.
We begin with our UK/non-UK fixed-effects models, which are based on data
from the Eurobarometer survey (European Commission, 2018b). All survey waves
between 2005 and 2014 in which our measures appeared were utilised for analysis.
010 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Percentage who identify with their nationality only
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Figure 2. Exclusively national self-identity in all 28 EU countries, 1992–2016. The UK is shown
in red. All other countries are shown in blue. Data are from the Eurobarometer (2018a).
Carl et al. 9
We stopped at 2014 in order to avoid contamination from campaigning effects
during the lead up to the EU referendum itself. Table 2 presents the results. Our
independent variable of interest––‘non-UK’–– is binary indicator, taking the value
0 for the UK and the value 1 for all other EU member states. The coefficient on
this variable (columns 3–5) can be interpreted as the average difference in
Euroscepticism between the UK and all other EU member states. Each row in
the table corresponds to a different model. The first column gives the survey wave.
The second column gives the dependent variable (i.e. the measure of
Euroscepticism). The third, fourth and fifth columns give the coefficients on the
non-UK dummy variable for different specifications. The third column corre-
sponds to a model with just the non-UK dummy variable; the fourth column
corresponds to a model with the non-UK dummy plus socio-economic character-
istics and measures of losing out from globalisation; and the fifth column corre-
sponds to a model with the non-UK dummy plus national (rather than European)
identity. Finally, the sixth and seventh columns give the percentage of the gap
between the UK and other member states that is explained by socio-economic
characteristics and measures of losing out from globalisation, and by national
(rather than European) identity, respectively.
Our first measure of Euroscepticism is belief about whether the country’s EU
membership is a bad thing, on a scale from 1 (‘good thing’) to 3 (‘bad thing’). Our
second measure of Euroscepticism is belief about whether one’s country could
better face the future outside the EU, on a scale from 1 (‘totally disagree’) to 4
(‘totally agree’). Both dependent variables were standardised prior to analysis.
Hence, each value in the third, fourth, and fifth columns can be interpreted as
the difference in average Euroscepticism (measured in standard deviation units)
between the UK and the other member states. Socio-economic characteristics
were: age, gender, education, and employment status. Measures of losing out
from globalisation were: trust in political parties, trust in the national parliament,
personal job situation, expectations of personal job situation, immigration
salience, and belief about whether globalisation represents an opportunity.
5
The
reason for including these variables is that previous explanations for the Brexit
vote, especially those focussing on the so-called ‘losers of globalisation’, have
assigned a great deal of explanatory importance to them (Curtice, 2016; Ford,
2016; Goodwin and Heath, 2016; Hobolt, 2016). National (rather than
European) identity was measured using the four-point scale described above.
Comparing the estimates in the third, fourth, and fifth columns allows us to see
whether socio-economic characteristics and measures of losing out from globali-
sation explain more of the gap in Euroscepticism between the UK and other
member states, or whether national (rather than European) identity explains
more of the gap. In particular, the values in the sixth column were computed by
simply taking the difference between the values in the third and fourth columns as
a percentage of the value in the third column. Likewise, the values in the seventh
column were computed by simply taking the difference between the values in the
third and fifth columns as a percentage of the value in the third column. Looking
10 European Union Politics 0(0)
Table 2. Estimates from UK/non-UK fixed-effects models of Euroscepticism.
Coefficient on non-UK dummy Percentage of gap explained
Wave Dependent variable
Just non-UK
dummy
Socio-economic
characteristics and
measures of losing
out from globalisation
National
(rather than
European)
identity
Socio-economic
characteristics and
measures of losing
out from globalisation
National
(rather than
European)
identity
Autumn 2005 EU membership is a bad thing 0.49*** 0.43*** 0.34*** 13 31
Spring 2010 EU membership is a bad thing 0.44*** 0.39*** 0.30*** 12 31
Spring 2013 Could better face future outside EU 0.51*** 0.42*** 0.40*** 17 22
Autumn 2013 Could better face future outside EU 0.59*** 0.56*** 0.49*** 5 17
Spring 2014 Could better face future outside EU 0.43*** 0.40*** 0.25*** 8 41
Autumn 2014 Could better face future outside EU 0.40*** 0.40*** 0.30*** 0 25
Note: The independent variable of interest is a binary indicator that takes the value ‘0’ for the UK and the value ‘1’ for all other EU member states. Coefficients
were estimated via OLS. Sample weights were applied. Moving down the rows, unweighted n’s for the six models are: 18,386; 16,084; 17,118; 17,211; 17,387; and
16,170. Data are from the Eurobarometer (2018b). Significance levels: *5%,
**
1%,
***
0.1%.
Carl et al. 11
at the sixth and seventh columns, we see that the average coefficient is 0–17%
smaller when controlling for socio-economic characteristics and measures of losing
out from globalisation, and that it is 17–41% smaller when controlling for national
identity. These results imply that––although variables like age, education and trust
in politicians can explain why some Britons hold more Eurosceptic attitudes than
other Britons––they can only explain a very modest portion of the gap in
Euroscepticism between the UK and other member states (i.e. the ‘intercept dif-
ference’). National identity, by contrast, is capable of explaining nearly a third of
this gap.
We now consider the second of the two possibilities mentioned above, namely
that national (rather than European) identity has a stronger association with
Euroscepticism in the UK than in other member states (i.e. the ‘slope difference’).
Our data and measures of Euroscepticism are the same as in Table 2. This time we
treat national (rather than European) identity as a binary variable, demarcating
those who answered ‘national identity only’ from those who said they had at least
some European identity. In addition to national identity, our models include coun-
try dummies (using the UK as the reference category), socio-economic character-
istics and measures of losing out from globalisation, as well as cross-level
interactions between national identity and country dummies. The coefficients of
interest are those on the cross-level interactions. Table 3 presents the results. In
each model, most of the estimates are negative (and many are significant), which
indicates that the association between national identity and Euroscepticism is
stronger in the UK than in most other EU countries. This finding is interesting
because it suggests that, in addition to helping explain why the UK is more
Eurosceptic than other member states, identity issues played a particularly impor-
tant role in the politics of European integration in the UK.
Finally, we move to the country level. Table 4 presents the cross-country corre-
lations between measures of Euroscepticism and: strength of national identity,
measures of losing out from globalisation, measures of inequality/austerity, and
measures of authoritarian values. Our first measure is net opinion on whether one’s
country’s ‘EU membership is a bad thing’, computed as the percentage saying ‘bad
thing’ minus the percentage saying ‘good thing’. Data for this measure were taken
from the 2014 wave of the Parlemeter survey (European Parliament, 2018). Our
second measure of Euroscepticism is net opinion on whether one’s country ‘could
better face the future outside the EU’. Data for this measure were taken from the
autumn 2014 wave of the Eurobarometer (European Commission, 2018a). The two
measures of Euroscepticism were correlated at r¼.80 (p<0.001, n¼28). Our
measures of losing out from globalisation, our measures of inequality and auster-
ity, and our measures of authoritarian values were taken from the Eurobarometer,
Eurostat, the UN and the European Social Survey (see notes below Table 4 for
more details). Crucially, we also report the UK’s rank on each of the explanato-
ry variables.
Strength of national (rather than European) identity is correlated strongly and
in the expected direction with both measures of Euroscepticism. Figure 3 displays
12 European Union Politics 0(0)
the scatterplots of these two relationships, confirming that they are not attributable
to outliers. None of the four measures of inequality/austerity is strongly correlated
with our two measures of Euroscepticism. Moreover, even though the UK is
ranked above average on three of the measures, it is not ranked close to first.
Britons cannot be said to have experienced substantially more inequality and aus-
terity than their counterparts in other EU member states. Five of the seven
Table 3. Cross-level interactions between national identity and country dummies, using UK as
the reference category.
Autumn
2005: EU
membership
is a bad
thing
Spring
2010: EU
membership
is a bad
thing
Spring
2013: Could
better face
future
outside EU
Autumn
2013: Could
better face
future
outside EU
Spring
2014: Could
better face
future
outside EU
Autumn
2014: Could
better face
future
outside EU
France 0.05 0.17 0.24* 0.07 0.11 0.17
Belgium 0.40*** 0.09 0.59*** 0.08 0.33** 0.19
Netherlands 0.30** 0.14 0.25* 0.06 0.15 0
Germany 0.20* 0.08 0.02 0.26* 0.01 0.06
Italy 0.13 0.27* 0.59*** 0.28* 0.39** 0.36**
Luxembourg 0.53*** 0.02 0.27 0.25 0.17 0.37*
Denmark 0.35*** 0.1 0.35*** 0.02 0.25* 0.17
Ireland 0.62*** 0.24* 0.78*** 0.45*** 0.35** 0.26*
Greece 0.22* 0.2 0.29** 0.05 0.08 0.14
Spain 0.27** 0.13 0.2 0.05 0.11 0.26*
Portugal 0.42*** 0.02 0.60*** 0.17 0.39*** 0.46***
Finland 0.28** 0.01 0.30* 0.05 0.28* 0.14
Sweden 0.11 0.06 0.32** 0.08 0.15 0.22
Austria 0.17 0.03 0.12 0.29* 0.13 0.01
Cyprus 0.12 0.03 0.24 0.34* 0.22 0.04
Czech Republic 0.27** 0.18 0.51*** 0.05 0.25* 0.30**
Estonia 0.44*** 0.24 0.77*** 0.40*** 0.40*** 0.46**
Hungary 0.53*** 0.09 0.48*** 0.45*** 0.55*** 0.34**
Latvia 0.47*** 0.30* 0.57*** 0.13 0.23* 0.19
Lithuania 0.53*** 0.39** 0.73*** 0.29* 0.43*** 0.48***
Malta 0.33 0.44* 0.3 0.06 0.39* 0.15
Poland 0.42*** 0.14 0.68*** 0.58*** 0.62*** 0.49***
Slovakia 0.36*** 0.16 0.45*** 0.09 0.36** 0.30*
Slovenia 0.34*** 0.22 0.57*** 0.39** 0.42*** 0.35**
Bulgaria 0.14 0.61*** 0.34** 0.49*** 0.12
Romania 0.61*** 0.85*** 0.37** 0.52*** 0.70***
Croatia 0.66*** 0.26* 0.29** 0.37**
Note: National (rather than European) identity was recoded into a binary variable corresponding to ‘national
identity only’ versus ‘at least some European identity’. Those who answered ‘none’ or ‘don’t know’ were
excluded. Each value is the coefficient on the interaction term for national identity country. Main effects
were included in all models, along with socio-economic characteristics and measures of losing out from
globalisation. Coefficients were estimated via OLS. Sample weights were applied. Moving across the columns,
unweighted ns for the six models are: 18,386; 15,887; 16,931; 16,993; 17,163; and 16,048. Data are from the
Eurobarometer (2018b). Significance levels: *5%, **1%, ***0.1%.
Carl et al. 13
Table 4. Cross-country correlations between measures of Euroscepticism and measures of
national identity, inequality/austerity, losing out from globalisation and authoritarian values.
Correlation with
‘EU membership
is a bad thing’
Correlation with
‘could better face
future outside EU’
UK’s rank
on measure
Strength of national identity
National identity only (%) 0.65*** 0.61*** 1st
Measures of inequality/austerity
Gini coefficient of equivalised
disposable income
0.05 0.02 11th
80/20 income percentile ratio 0.00 0.00 12th¼
–1 (% change in government
spending per capita 2009–2013)
0.30 0.17 20th
–1 (% change in social spending
per capita 2009–2013)
0.12 0.08 14th
Measures of losing out from globalisation
Negative view of globalisation (%) 0.45* 0.42* 18th
Bad personal job situation (%) 0.42* 0.42* 21st
Expecting a worse personal job
situation over next year (%)
0.40* 0.41* 23.5th¼
Tend not to trust the national
parliament (%)
0.34* 0.49** 18th
Tend not to trust political parties (%) 0.37* 0.50** 17.5th¼
Log of immigrant fraction 0.08 –0.13 9th
Log of immigration rate –0.33 –0.27 10th
Measures of authoritarian values
Gays and lesbians should not be
free to live as they wish (%)
–0.07 0.07 22
nd
Should not take any non-white
immigrants (%)
0.47* 0.37* 15th
Should not take any immigrants
from poor countries (%)
0.41* 0.26 9th
Note: National identity only, negative view of globalisation, bad personal job situation, expecting a worse
personal job situation over next year, tend not to trust the national parliament, and tend not to trust political
parties were taken from the autumn 2014 wave of the Eurobarometer (European Commission, 2018a). Gini
coefficient of equivalised disposable income (in 2014), 80/20 income percentile ratio (in 2014), change in
government spending per capita 2009–2013, change in social spending per capita 2009–2013, and immigration
rate (in 2014) were taken from Eurostat (2018). Immigrant fraction (in 2015) was taken from the UN (2017).
Note that immigration rate was computed as immigrant inflow divided by total population, whereas immi-
gration fraction was computed as immigrant stock divided by total population. ‘Gays and lesbians should not
be free to live as they wish’, ‘should not take any non-white immigrants’, and ‘should not take any immigrants
from poor countries’ were taken from the European Social Survey (2016); the latest available value for
each country was utilised. Percentages were computed after removing ‘don’t knows’. In the third and
fourth columns, n¼28 for correlations pertaining to the first nine measures; and n¼27 for correlations
pertaining to the last three measures (data on Malta were not available for these measures). Significance
levels:
*
5%,
**
1%,
***
0.1%.
14 European Union Politics 0(0)
measures of losing out from globalisation are correlated quite strongly and in the
expected direction with our second measure of Euroscepticism. Importantly, how-
ever, the UK is not ranked close to first on these measures. Britons cannot be said
to have lost out more from globalisation than their counterparts in other EU
member states. Finally, only one of the three measures of authoritarian values is
correlated strongly and in the predicted direction with both measures of
Euroscepticism. Once again, however, the UK is not ranked close to first on
these measures. Britons cannot be said to harbour substantially more authoritarian
values than their counterparts in other EU member states.
Discussion
Building on previous work (Curtice, 2017; Dennison and Carl, 2016), we have
attempted to answer the question, ‘Why did the UK vote to leave, rather than
any other member state?’. Toward this end, we began by providing evidence that
the UK has long been one of the most––if not the most––Eurosceptic countries in
the EU. We then presented results from multi-level models and cross-country
analyses, which showed that Britons’ weaker sense of European identity can
partly account for why the UK is so Eurosceptic, and that alternative explanations
are unable to explain the gap in Euroscepticism between the UK and other
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Czech Rep.
Germany
Denmark
Estonia
Greece
Spain
Finland
France
Croatia
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Latvia
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Sweden
Slovenia
Slovakia
UK
−80 −60 −40 −20 0
Net opinion on whether EU membership is a bad thing
20 30 40 50 60
Percenta
g
e who identif
y
with their nationalit
y
onl
y
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Czech Rep.
Germany
Denmark
Estonia
Greece
Spain
Finland
France
Croatia
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Latvia
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Sweden
Slovenia
Slovakia
UK
−60 −40 −20 0
Net opinion on whether country could better face future outside EU
20 30 40 50 60
Percenta
g
e who identif
y
with their nationalit
y
onl
y
Figure 3. Scatterplots showing the relationships between measures of Euroscepticism and
strength of national identity. See text for data sources.
Carl et al. 15
member states. We also showed that the positive association between national
identity and Euroscepticism is stronger in the UK than in most of the other
EU countries.
At this point, it is worth speculating on why Britons appear to have such a weak
sense of European identity. We would conjecture that the answer lies in specific
aspects of their country’s history, culture and geography. First, Britain is an island,
which has partially isolated it from developments elsewhere in Europe and fostered
a perception that ‘the continent’ is remote, distinct and, to some extent, singular
(Grant, 2008). Second, England has a common law legal system, which contrasts
with the civil law system used on mainland Europe (Scruton, 2015). Likewise, the
British system of government is based, somewhat uniquely, on an uncodified con-
stitution. Third, because England has an established church, most British
Christians have historically owed their allegiance to a national institution
headed by the monarch, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church (see
McAndrew, 2016; Scherer, 2014). As a consequence, many Britons never became
accustomed to dividing their loyalties between national and international institu-
tions. Fourth, the UK has retained relatively strong cultural and political links
with much of its former Empire. Indeed, the British monarch is still head of state in
the 16 Commonwealth realms, three of which have large British-descended pop-
ulations (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). And fifth, the UK was the only
allied European power not occupied by Germany during the Second World War,
which may have served to bolster Britons’ pride and confidence in their national
institutions. Indeed, unlike their counterparts in Germany, Italy, Spain, and
France, Britons have never had a strong reason to renounce their exclusively
national self-identities.
6
By itself, of course, Britons’ comparatively weak sense of European identity was
not sufficient to take the UK out of the EU. After all, the country had been a
member for more than four decades before the referendum was called. As Figure 1
shows, Euroscepticism rose sharply in the years following the 1975 EU referen-
dum, reaching its peak around 1980. It then fell continuously during the 1980s,
reaching its nadir around 1991. Euroscepticism then rose rapidly in 1992 and 1993,
flattened out during the rest of the 1990s, and then rose again after 2006 (see
Curtice and Evans, 2015); it reached a local peak around the time of the
European debt crisis in 2010–2012, before falling again in the mid-2010s.
7
Why––by 2016––had Eurosceptic sentiment increased up to the point where
more than 50% of voters opted for Leave?
We can only conjecture that four main economic and political developments
contributed to the rise in Eurosceptic sentiment. First, the UK’s Exchange Rate
Mechanism crisis in 1992 highlighted the country’s lack of monetary synchrony
with Europe’s largest economy, Germany—a point that would be repeated by
Eurosceptic agitators in future years (Gifford, 2008; and see Anderson and
Reichert, 1995; Gabel and Whitten, 1997). Second, the increasing extent of
European political integration, as manifested in the Maastricht and Lisbon trea-
ties, bolstered concerns about the putative threat to British sovereignty, which was
16 European Union Politics 0(0)
one of the two most frequently cited reasons for voting Leave (Lord Ashcroft,
2016; Prosser et al. 2016; and see Eichenberg and Dalton, 1993; Franklin et al.,
1994). Third, the Eurozone debt crisis, beginning in early 2010, lent credibility to
Eurosceptic claims that the failures of monetary integration were symptomatic of
fundamental flaws in the European project (e.g. Johnson, 2011; and see Braun and
Tausendpfund, 2014). Fourth and most importantly, the influx of labour migrants
from Eastern Europe led the crucial issues of immigration and EU membership to
become merged in the public’s mind (Evans and Mellon, 2016; see also
McLaren, 2002).
Furthermore, any explanation for Brexit must explain why there was a refer-
endum on EU membership in the first place. David Cameron’s initial promise to
hold a referendum was arguably motivated by pressure from Eurosceptic MPs
within the governing Conservative party, as well as the growing electoral threat
of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)––two trends that reflected
rising Euroscepticism. Moreover, nearly all major British political parties (the
Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the British National
Party, and the Greens) have made a manifesto promise to hold a referendum on
EU membership or supported immediate withdrawal at some point over the 43
years of Britain’s membership. At the pivotal 2015 general election, the
Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens all promised an in-out referendum,
while UKIP promised immediate withdrawal. In short, Cameron’s decision was
not solely the result of Conservative Party infighting: following the precedent set in
1975, all major parties have used the promise of an in-out referendum as a tool to
appease their voters’ Euroscepticism. In addition, Cameron’s decision was remark-
ably popular: around 70% of the public and more than 75% of businesses sup-
ported holding a referendum on EU membership at the time (BCC, 2013;
Clark, 2011).
There are several important caveats to our argument, which we should stress at
this point. First, we are unable to rule out the possibility of endogeneity, namely
that Euroscepticism actually causes weaker European identity, or that both vari-
ables are confounded by some third factor. For this reason, our results should be
treated as associational, rather than causal. Second, we are not claiming that
having a weak sense of European identity is necessary to take a country out of
the EU. It seems highly plausible that a country could leave the EU for largely
independent reasons. For example, Greece nearly left the Eurozone in 2011––and
could have subsequently left the EU altogether––due to the incompatibility
between the monetary policy of the European Central Bank and the rigidities
within its own economy (Carl, 2017). Third, we are not claiming that the British
population is a single entity, which has the characteristic of being Eurosceptic, nor
that the country has a unitary will, which is to leave the EU. We are simply
claiming that, over the last 40 years, a relatively large fraction of the British pop-
ulation has held Eurosceptic attitudes, and that––since the early 1990s––this frac-
tion increased up to the point where more than 50% of voters opted for Leave.
Carl et al. 17
One major alternative explanation for the UK’s long-standing Euroscepticism is
the country’s Eurosceptic press (Daddow, 2012; Hawkins, 2012; Startin, 2015). In
other words, it is possible that Britons have remained relatively Eurosceptic over
the years due to continuous negative coverage of the EU in the popular media,
rather than because of their weaker sense of European identity. However, there are
several reasons to doubt this explanation. First, at the time of the 1975 referendum,
the press overwhelmingly backed remaining in the European Community.
According to Daddow (2012), influential newspapers like The Sun,The Daily
Mail and The Telegraph did not assume a firmly Eurosceptic editorial stance
until the late 1980s. Yet as Figure 1 indicates, the UK was already one of most
Eurosceptic countries during the early-to-mid 1980s. Second, although a sizable
plurality of newspapers endorsed Leave when weighting by circulation (Ponsford,
2016), it is not necessarily true that the British media as a whole had a pro-Leave
skew in the lead up to the 2016 referendum. Circulation has been in decline for
decades, meaning that newspapers are much less influential now than they were at
the time of the 1975 referendum. Despite being ranked first and second by circu-
lation, The Sun and The Daily Mail are ranked 10th and 13th, respectively, by
overall reach in England (Ofcom, 2016). Of course, the reason for this discrepancy
is that most people get their news primarily from the TV or Internet. And impor-
tantly, non-print news sources tend to provide much more neutral or even pro-
Remain coverage (CRCC, 2016; Smith, 2018; and see Carl, 2018b). Finally, while
some might argue that the slant of British newspapers represents a largely exog-
enous influence on public attitudes, economic analyses have found that newspapers
respond strongly to consumer preferences (Gentzkow and Shapiro, 2010).
Finally, what are the broader implications of the arguments we have presented
in this article? First, in order to comprehensively explain a phenomenon like the
Brexit vote (i.e. over 50% of voters opting to leave the EU in a referendum), it is
not sufficient to just analyse differences between individuals and constituencies
within the UK; one must also examine the factors that differentiate the UK
from all the other countries that have not voted to leave the EU. Second, to the
extent that Britons’ comparatively weak sense of European identity contributed to
the Brexit vote, it is reasonable to conclude that holding a political union together
requires a reasonably high degree of common identity among the individuals living
within that union, as many scholars have noted over the years (e.g. Haas, 1968;
Shore, 2000). And third, given that Britons’ relatively deep-rooted sense of nation-
al (rather than European) identity is somewhat unique within the EU, the Brexit
referendum is unlikely to exert a contagion effect whereby other countries follow
Britain out (Van Kessel, 2017).
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication
of this article.
18 European Union Politics 0(0)
Notes
1. For a detailed overview of Euroscepticism across the EU, see De Vries (2018).
2. An important caveat is that trust in European institutions has declined considerably in
debtor countries (of which the UK is not one) since the start of the financial crisis in
2007–2008 (Foster and Frieden, 2017).
3. Hix (2017) shows that, in terms of intra-EU trade, the UK ‘is less dependent on the EU
single market than any other member state’. Note that the UK also has the lowest
percentage of emigrants living inside the EU of all 28 member states (Dennison and
Carl, 2016).
4. Note that, over the last decade, national identity appears to have sharply increased in the
most crisis-stricken countries (Polyakova and Fligstein, 2016).
5. Please note that personal job situation and belief about whether globalisation represents
an opportunity were not available in the autumn 2005 wave. Measures of inequality/
austerity and authoritarian values were not available in the Eurobarometer data. See
Table 4 for our analysis comparing alternative explanations for Brexit at the cross-
country level.
6. Note that, of the Western European countries that are not EU members: Iceland is an
island, has a state church and was not occupied by Germany; Norway has a state church
and a degree of geographic isolation; Switzerland has a unique political system that was
not interrupted by Nazi occupation or any other form of dictatorship. Note also that,
over the three years that Norwegians were asked the Eurobarometer question on national
versus European identity (from 1992 to 1994), Norway’s average percentage with an
exclusively national self-identity was second only to the UK’s (European
Commission, 2016a).
7. Another indicator that Euroscepticism rose during the 1990s and 2000s is the electoral
success of UKIP, whose vote share in general elections increased from 0.3% in 1997 to
12.7% in 2015, and whose vote share in European elections increased from 1% in 1994 to
26.6% in 2014.
ORCID iD
Noah Carl http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4442-9939
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... Next to these largely utilitarian perspectives, a second strand of literature focused on identity-driven motivations and the role of populist nationalism in the successful campaign for Brexit (Crewe and Sanders, 2020). The strong link between feelings of English national identity and Euroscepticism (Goodwin and Milazzo, 2017;Carl et al., 2019), combined with the fact that English voters see national identity and EU membership as conflicting (Kuhn, 2019), explain why "Brexit was made in England" (Henderson et al., 2017: 631;see also;Sobolewska and Ford, 2020). Compared to the predominantly economic focus of the previous two perspectives, these studies show that voters, especially males, the elderly and the low educated, begrudged the openness to immigration and progressive views of the cosmopolitan elites, and perceived EU membership as a cultural threat (Richards et al., 2018). ...
... British Euroscepticism has old roots. Public opinion data show that, over the last 40 years, Britons' sense of European identity has been consistently low compared to other EU member states (Heath and Spreckelsen, 2015;Carl et al., 2019). The clash between, on the one hand, the Europeanization of immigration and the nationally-oriented identity concerns of sections of the British public on the other, fostered increasingly Eurosceptic views. ...
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The central question in this article is whether there was greater discrimination against European applicants in the labor market in those English regions where public opinion was more strongly in favor of Brexit. Using a field experiment conducted immediately after the Brexit Referendum, we provide causal evidence that applicants with EU backgrounds faced discrimination when applying for jobs in England. On average, applicants from EU12 countries and applicants from Eastern European member states were both less likely to receive a callback from employers than were white British applicants. Furthermore, in British regions where support for Brexit was stronger, employers were more likely to discriminate against EU12 applicants. This finding, though, is driven by the more favorable treatment reserved to EU12 applicants applying for jobs in the Greater London area. Eastern Europeans, on the other hand, did not benefit from this ‘London advantage’. Administrative and legal uncertainties over the settlement status of EU nationals cannot explain these findings, as European applicants, both EU12 and Eastern Europeans, faced the same legislative framework in all British regions, including London. Rather, London appears to exhibit a cultural milieu of ‘selective cosmopolitanism’. These findings add to the still limited literature on the relationship between public opinion on immigrants (here proxied by the referendum vote) and the levels of ethnic discrimination recorded in field experiments.
... The effects of these nested identities are important. For instance, holding a European identity in addition to a national identity was highly explanatory for voting to remain instead of voting to leave the EU in the case of Brexit (Carl et al., 2019;Hobolt, 2016). Next to the support for the political system, having an additional European identity has also other positive effects for social cohesion: Curtis (2014) has found that including European identity into the self-concept next to a national identity predicts positive attitudes towards immigrants. ...
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... Over the years, a rich body of research has been published examining citizens' voting decisions in the Brexit referendum. Explanations for the electoral decisions are manifold and range from (missing) European identity (Carl et al., 2019), higher media coverage for the 'out' campaign (Khabaz, 2018), and cultural divides within British society (Blick & Salter, 2020), to negative sentiments towards immigration (Goodwin & Milazzo, 2017). ...
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... Focusing on national identity to understand EU support is quite remarkable and zooming in on the operationalization of the variable reveals that negative EU attitudes are in fact less driven by a positive attachment towards the nation state, but rather by a lack of attachment to the EU (compare data in Carey, 2002;Carl et al., 2019;Hooghe & Marks, 2004, 2005. As soon as national identity is measured as an inclusive concept (Citrin & Sides, 2004;Díez Medrano & Gutiérrez, 2001;Gustafson, 2009;Haesly, 2001), a strong national identity is no longer a hindrance to a positive stance towards the European Union. ...
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... The Brexit referendum, the resignations of David Cameron and Theresa May, the two early elections, the exceptional rate of parliamentary revolts, government defeats and floor-crossings of the last legislatures have the same denominator: the European Union. According to this reading, which often attributes the misfit to identity issues (Carl et al. 2018), by ending the EU affair (Prosser 2021), the approval of the exit agreement and the 2019 general election have also ended the period of anomaly and realigned British politics (Cutts et al. 2020). ...
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... Where a further transfer of sovereignty was expected, however, the UK even opted out of such core European projects as Schengen and the Euro. Throughout the years of the UK's EU membership, the Union remained the ubiquitous 'scapegoat' for the British media and politicians, while Eurosceptic sentiments grew stronger across political parties both on the left and the right of the political spectrum (Carl, Dennison and Evans 2019;Copeland and Copsey 2017, 719-721;Oliver 2017, 2;Startin 2015, 316-320). ...
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Since late 2007, the Eurozone has been embroiled in a crisis that has seen GDP per capita stagnate, public debt soar, and unemployment reach record levels. This article argues that the Eurozone crisis will inevitably force fundamental changes in the structure of the EU. The only way to make the Eurozone work is through deeper fiscal integration of Eurozone economies. Yet wholesale fiscal integration cannot be achieved in the near term, due to the fact that EU citizens continue to identify more with their own nationalities than with Europe as a whole. The Eurozone economies of southern Europe will, therefore, continue to flounder, leading to further anti-EU sentiment. Anti-EU sentiment may eventually increase up to the point where one or all of these countries leave the Eurozone or the EU altogether. These propositions are supported with arguments from economic theory, and are bolstered by evidence from surveys and opinion polls.