Political devel op ments in Europe during the past twenty years have led to an increased academic interest in radical right parties as well as the study of Euroscepticism. However, studies bridging the two have not yet been system atic. This is partly because radical right parties have been viewed as strong advoc ates of negat ive posi tions on European integ ra tion. Indeed, Hainsworth argues that these parties ‘are well placed to act as the voice of popular oppos i tion and protest against devel op ments declared to be anti-national’.1 Radical right parties either because of their extrem ist ideo logy2 or because of their marginal posi tion in their domestic party system3 have increased incent ives to oppose Europe. It is only very recently that schol ars have iden ti fied that behind this seem ingly uniform
stance lies a vast array of party responses to Europe that have also varied over time.4 This can also be veri fied by the latest 2006 Chapel Hill expert survey on party posi tions,5 where radical right parties exhibit varying scores on the ques tion of their overall European Union (EU) posi tion ranging from a strongly oppos ing 1 for the French Front National to a compar at ively favour able approach of the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom, which scores 4.75.6 Although this indic ates strongly that parties belong ing to the radical right party family display dissim ilar posi tions on European integ ra tion, the issue of radical right EU attitudes remains under-researched in terms of content as well as under ly ing argu ment a tion. Seeking to build on the above-mentioned liter at ure and to contrib ute towards an improved under stand ing of the radical right stance to European integ ra tion, this research is informed by two inter re lated ques tions. First, how can we concep tu al ize the nature of radical right posi tions on the EU? Second, how do radical right parties respond to the issue of European integ ra tion? This article argues that radical right parties may be categor ized into three patterns of
oppos i tion towards European integ ra tion: the reject ing, condi tional and comprom ising patterns of Euroscepticism. These are iden ti fied through the careful exam in a tion of party atti tudes on four differ ent aspects related to European integ ra tion and the EU. These are: a common cultural defin i tion of Europe, the prin ciple of cooper a tion at a European multilat eral level, the EU policy prac tice and the desire to build a future European polity. In order to address these two research ques tions and to present the argu ment, this article is divided into three sections. It first discusses the prom in ent works in the liter at ure on Euroscepticism, assess ing the extent to which they apply to the European posi tions of radical right parties. Second, it proposes the concep tu al iz a tion of radical right atti tudes to Euro - pean integ ra tion in terms of three patterns of oppos i tion. Third, it conducts a qual it at ive analysis of party liter at ure of 12 radical right parties from 10 European coun tries, adding empir ical substance to the theor et ical reas on ing of the article.