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Eurosceptics in Lithuania: On the Margins of Politics?

[journal article]

Unikaite-Jakuntaviciene, Ingrida

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Abstract The first eurosceptic ideas were articulated in Lithuania during the European Union accession referendum campaign in 2003, but they were almost inaudible through the chorus of pro-European voices. Different kinds of eurosceptic arguments were expressed, such as a fear of identity loss or critics of the government “buying votes”. However, there were just a few political actors expressing these views, and the relevant political parties were absent among this group. This situation was in contrast to the neighboring countries with more serious eurosceptics. Ten years have passed and situation is changing. Eurosceptic ideas still lack popularity in Lithuanian political parties and among non-partisan actors, but some initiatives of eurosceptic movements receive popular support. Who represents the eurosceptics in Lithuania? Which of their arguments are increasingly cogent, if any? Why are these ideas popular or unpopular in Lithuania? To answer these questions, deeper analysis of the situation and reasons for euroscepticism in Lithuania is needed. With the above-mentioned questions in mind, the article concentrates on the euroscepticism debates in Lithuania among different groups and actors of society—e.g. political actors, and public and social movements – by discussing the main ideas of Lithuanian eurosceptics, and the reasons for their (un-)popularity. The article classifies Lithuanian euroscepticism both in terms of ideas and actors. Media monitoring, interviews with particular actors, public opinion and electoral data are the main research sources used for analysis. The article reveals that throughout the entire decade of Lithuania’s membership in EU the Lithuanian eurosceptics remained on the margins of politics; but, nevertheless, they have the potential to grow in number of supporters.
Keywords Lithuania; political actor; party; social movement; political situation; public opinion; political attitude
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Euroskeptizismus
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 1-21
Journal European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities, 3 (2014) 4
Issue topic Political Science
ISSN 2285-4916
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works