• Anita Nissen
In light of the financial crisis that swept across the European continent in the mid-2000s, the
European Union is faced with a citizenry that is losing faith in the project. This has been visible in
the opinion polls for the 2014 European Parliament elections, where so-called eurosceptic rightwing
populist parties are expected to make huge electoral gains. These parties either wish to
reform the EU, or for their countries to outright leave the organization. Even though they already
started increasing their vote shares in the elections of 2009, there has not been much scholarly
investigation into their exact policy positions on the European Union. It is this gap that the
following research will begin closing, through a comparative case study of the UK Independence
Party (UKIP) and the Danish People’s Party (DPP). The analysis answers the following question:
How do eurosceptic right-wing populist parties articulate their specific stance on the EU in the
lead-up to a European Parliament election?

The research is conducted through a framing analysis, focusing on the approaches offered by Carol
Bacchi (What is the Problem Represented to Be?) and Robert D. Benford and David A. Snow
(diagnostic, prognostic and motivational framing). This permits an exploration of the two parties’
specific problematizations, how and why they have arisen, who the blame belongs to, what their
solutions are, and what the public should act by doing. The analysis will also consider the
employment of certain linguistic tools, such as metaphors and catchphrases. The empirical data
consists of party documents and material from the debates in Denmark and the UK from the
period January-April 2014, seeing as this was when the EP election debates began gaining
prominence in the media.

In the analysis it is revealed that the two parties argue very similarly, despite their differing
degrees of Euroscepticism, and both employ the following frames in their argumentation: Threat
to National Sovereignty, Threat of Immigration, Economic Concerns, Anti-Establishment and
Democratic Deficit.

The parties envision two very different solutions to their future relations with the EU, as UKIP
wants the UK to withdraw from the cooperation, while the DPP advocates a kind of multi-track EU,
where the member states are free to choose their degree of European integration. Yet, they
concur in seeing the nation states’ loss of sovereignty and democratic rights as the overarching
problems with the EU, and these sentiments are behind several of the problematizations that they
identify in the other frames.

Both thus vehemently oppose the EU’s moves towards closer integration and the idea of creating
a “United States of Europe”. The economic toll of EU immigration is also problematized by the two
parties, as this will not only harm the nation’s overall economy, but also the common citizens, who
will have to accept diminished living conditions, as the immigrants can afford to accept lower
wages. Yet, here again, their solutions differ. The DPP just wishes to introduce a welfare policy
opt-out, whilst UKIP wants to leave the EU, so it can reclaim its borders and immigration policy,
and introduce a system of work-permits. The DPP also wishes to reintroduce border controls, yet
this is due to its wish of curtailing border-crossing crime.

The other economic concerns voiced by the two parties are mainly related to the problem of the
high EU costs that the member states have to pay, and this representation has come about
because neither of the two senses a unity between the EU member states. Moreover, both parties
problematize issues related to the establishment, particularly their national politicians, who are
accused of belittling, and even lying about, the effects of EU immigration. Unlike the DPP, UKIP
also problematizes the societal gaps in the UK, and that the EU favors big business in its policies.
Finally, in regards to the democratic deficit, both parties problematize the unrepresentative
nature of the EU, as it is seen as being too distant a construct to be allowed to interfere with the
domestic policies of its member states.

This, conflated with the wish to protect the nation’s sovereignty, is in fact the main problem for
both parties. The EU is seen as being too intrusive on the member states, as neither of the two
perceives the EU to be a community in the same sense as they see their own nations.

Thus, besides being revelatory about the way the two eurosceptic parties articulate their positions
on the EU, the research also shows that their main concerns about the EU correlate to a very high
degree. This is particularly interesting seeing as they express different degrees of Euroscepticism,
and envision diverging futures for their countries’ EU membership.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date30 May 2014
Number of pages96
ID: 198283241