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For An Alternative Europe: Euroscepticism and the French Left Since the Maastricht Treaty

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Abstract:

This article reviews the position of the main French left groupings in relation to European integration since the early 1990s. The views of the more pro-European Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) are contrasted with those of the Mouvement des Citoyens and the far left. The radical left view is anti-elitist and critical of the lack of direct citizens' input, opposing deregulation, privatisation and liberalisation. The electoral fortune of these groups has fluctuated, with the far left making significant gains in the late 1990s. The success of the Trotskyist left coincides with the growth of anti-globalisation movements and defensive mobilisation by trade unions at the end of the 1990s. The Chevènementists' shift away from left-right positioning has not paid off electorally. This suggests the persistence of a left-wing Euroscepticism - in the sense of a radically different vision of European integration from that currently advocated by heads of state and government - with its roots in popular mistrust of political elites and fear of neo-liberal policies.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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