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LITHUANIAN PUBLIC OPINION AND THE EU MEMBERSHIP

 

 

Elena Dragomir

 

University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute - Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies, E-mail: elena.dragomir@helsinki.fi

 

 

Abstract:

During the early 1990s, following the restoration of independence, Lithuania reoriented in terms of foreign policy towards West. One of the state’s main foreign policy goals became the accession to the EU and NATO. Acknowledging that the ‘opinion of the people’ is a crucial factor in today’s democracy as it is important and necessary for politicians to know and take into consideration the ‘public opinion’, that is the opinion of the people they represent, this paper brings into attention the public support for the political pro-West project. The paper is structured in two main parts. The first one presents in short the politicians’ discourse regarding Lithuania’s accession to the EU and its general ‘returning to Europe’, in the general context of the state’s new foreign policy, while the second part presents the results of different public opinion surveys regarding the same issue. Comparing these two sides, in the end, the paper provides the answer that the Lithuanian people backed the political elites in their European projects. Although, the paper does not represent a breakthrough for the scientific community, its findings could be of interest for those less familiarized with the Lithuanian post-Cold War history, and especially for the Romanian public to whom this journal mainly addresses. 

 

Rezumat:

În anii 1990, dupa restaurarea independentei de stat, politica externa a Lituaniei s-a reorientat spre Vest, unul dintre principalele obiective ale statului devenind aderarea la Uniunea Europena si la NATO. Pornind de la recunoasterea faptului ca „opinia publica” este un element crucial în democratia de astazi, caci este esential si necesar ca politicienii sa cunoasca „opinia publica” – adica opinia oamenilor pe care îi reprezinta – si sa actioneze în functie de ea, acest studiu aduce în atentie sprijinul pe care l-au acordat lituanienii proiectului politic pro-occidental. Articolul este structurat în doua parti. Cea dintâi prezinta succinct discursul politic cu privire la aderarea Lituaniei la Uniunea Europeana si la asa-numita „revenire a Lituaniei la Europa”, în contextul general oferit de noua politica externa a statului, iar  cea de-a doua parte prezinta rezultatele diferitelor sondaje de opinie pe acelasi subiect. Comparând aceste doua elemente, articolul arata ca lituanienii au sustinut proiectul politic pro-occidental. Desi lucrarea nu aduce elemente de noutate în discutia academica, rezultatele sale pot fi de interes pentru publicul nespecialist sau pentru cel mai putin familiarizat cu istoria recenta a Lituaniei.

 

Keywords: Lithuania, EU accession, public opinion, survey


11. Dragomir.pdf

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