Is ‘Eurorealism’ the new ‘Euroscepticism’? Modern conservatism, the European Conservatives and Reformists and European integration
Introduction For many right-wing conservative political parties across Europe, the European integration project has always been somewhat controversial. In the European Parliament, while the overwhelming majority of parties belonging to the European People’s Party (EPP) tend to be strongly supportive of developments at the EU level, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, created in 2009 under the leadership of David Cameron, involved political parties that raise some concerns over some aspects of the European Union (EU). In the existing literature, the ECR group is often considered as a ‘soft Eurosceptic’ (see e.g. Usherwood and Startin 2013; Brack and Startin 2015) or ‘anti-federalist’ (see e.g. Taggart and Szczerbiak 2013). However, the group prefers to be referred to as ‘Eurorealist’, a notion that has been around since the early 2000s but still remains unclear in the literature. This chapter examines the transnational and pan-European ‘Eurorealist’ movement and aims at determining whether Eurorealism can be understood as a synonym of ‘soft Euroscepticism’.