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Opposition Parties in the European Parliament: The Cases of Syriza, Podemos and the Five Star Movement


The different crises which have affected the European Union (EU) since 2008, have triggered a major politicisation of European integration. This dynamic makes it of utmost importance to understand how parties act within the European Parliament (EP), in order to gauge whether it is possible to identify a parliamentary opposition which is Eurocritical but not Eurosceptic. For this purpose, three parties are considered: Syriza (Synaspismos Rizospastikis Aristeras, Coalition of the Radical Left), Podemos (We Can) and the Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Star Movement). These parties’ positions on the EU are either unclear and/or critical, but also hard to classify as hostile to European integration. The empirical analysis highlights a significant degree of commonality in the voting behaviour of these parties and a high level of disagreement with the Eurosceptic bloc, thus pointing to a more complex political confrontation in the EP structured around: pro-EU/majority parties, Eurocritical/‘loyal’ opposition parties and Eurosceptic/anti-system parties.
Keywords: Euroscepticism; legislative studies; party politics; European Parliament; European integration