Irmina Matonyte, Gintaras Šumskas & Vaidas Morkevičius: Europeanness of Lithuanian Political Elite: Europhilia, Russophobia and Neoliberalism. [Abstract]
The article describes and analyzes the evolution of Lithuanian political elite’s attitudes towards the European Union (EU) and its governance during the past decade (2004-2016). First, it reviews changes in the composition of Lithuania’s political elite and assesses EU related policy decisions, which reveal the complex interrelations between national and supranational politics in a small but illustrative post-communist state. Second, it presents an analysis of the Lithuanian political elite’s attitudes, which were surveyed in 2007, 2009 and 2014; it examines trends in the elite’s attachment to Europe, their perceptions of threats to EU cohesion, changes in the levels of their trust in EU institutions, their conceptions of European governance, and their stances towards the management of financial and economic crisis. Comparing the three surveys captures evolution of the attitudes of the by and large consensually pro-European Lithuanian political elite. The Europeanness of the Lithuanian political elite also increases, an attitude which appears to be more a response to Russia-induced geopolitical destabilization than to the 2008 financial crisis.