Europe’s Euroskeptics more united than many think: poll

Button badges are seen for sale at the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) annual conference in central London September 21, 2013

(Reuters) – “Far-right” Euroskeptics in France, Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium have far more in common than just animosity towards the European Union or opposition to migration, according to a new survey.

Rather than being single-issue voters with narrow national interests, the survey suggests far-right Euroskeptics share a common set of values and concerns that could potentially make them a meaningful bloc in the European Parliament.

The findings indicate that if anti-EU parties such as France’s Front National and Britain’s UKIP do well in the European elections in May, as expected, they have a chance of forging a strong alliance with staying power.

Until now, analysts have tended to argue that while anti-EU parties may do well, they are unlikely to find enough common ground to make them a political force.

“There is far more to the Euroskeptic vote than one-issue concerns about migration or European integration,” said Martijn Lampert, the research director of Motivaction International, which conducted the survey of more than 10,000 people ( here)

“Once the parties really form a front together, that could be quite powerful because they have a similar voter base that is rooted in similar values. It’s not a one-off event.”

The survey quizzed right-wing Euroskeptics in Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and left-wing ones in Italy.

While all of them share a certain number of values and concerns, the right-wing ones had a particularly strong correlation of interests, no matter their country of origin.

In general, Euroskeptics were more inclined to advocate tradition, organization and obedience than average voters, while agreeing that people with too much freedom tend to abuse it and that the world is changing too fast and too often.

In terms of specific concerns, Euroskeptics are more worried about immigration, crime and safety than average voters, while being less concerned about employment and the environment. They are also more opposed to high salaries, the bonus culture and governments rescuing banks than ordinary voters…