Why do parties that belong to the same party family address the EU question differently? This book addresses this question through a systematic analysis of the EU positions of far right parties in Europe.
Starting from the assumption that parties are rational vote-maximising actors, the book argues that the way they interpret structural incentives depends largely on the party’s relationship with democracy, its attitude towards the polity, its target electorate/social basis, and its behaviour towards competitors. Classification on these indicators leads to the identification of three far right party models: ‘anti-system’; ‘anti-liberal’ and ‘normalised’.
Given that the EU is a core issue in far right parties’ toolkit, it becomes a key policy in party competition. Anti-system parties tend to opt for a rejectionist position on the EU; anti-liberal parties tend to be conditional Eurosceptics; and normalised parties tend to adopt a compromising position on the EU. The specific narrative that a party may employ in order to frame Europe domestically depends on how it perceives national identity.