How do member states view their EU membership?

17 Jun 2016 - 11:37

‘The European Union is in crisis’ is an often heard phrase these days. More than ever before, support for the European integration project seems to be under pressure. On June 23, the UK decided to leave the EU. At the same time it provides Europe the opportunity for a much needed debate on what kind of EU citizens and member states actually want. Is the UK unique? How does the population and the establishment in other member states view the EU and their country’s role in the future?

You'll find the different perspectives in this mattermap.

Support for the EU in Denmark, which like the UK is an ‘odd member’ due to its various ‘opt-outs’ of the EU treaties, has only risen until recent. It wishes a sober membership in an EU that focuses on liberalising its markets. For Poland membership entails existential security but it emphasises that the EU should learn how to handle European diversity. While Hungary is often portrayed as troublemaker, not a single political party in the country takes an exit from the EU serious. Its prime-minister Viktor Orbán is eager to showcase Central European interests however and rejects being patronized by older member states.

Being one of the founding fathers, for Italy EU membership never was a problem. But membership is now under pressure from parties both to the left and to the right. Portugal supports a deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union and wants a more social Europe where economic and social convergence are restored. And for Greece, the EU is transitioning from an anchor of progress into a stifling constraint.
The Spanish government speaks of a ‘United States of Europe’, but support for the EU has declined. Germany feels a special responsibility to take EU leadership, yet it has felt left alone. Nevertheless, France is still among the few member states willing to invest in thinking about the future of the EU. While the UK is contemplating an exit, Serbia, which is an EU candidate, is eager to become a member.


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