Bojana Kocijan & Marko Kukec: From Hard Consensus to Soft Euroscepticism: Attitudes of Croatian MPs on EU Integration [Abstract]
In this article, we offer the first systematic study of the attitudes of Croatian MPs about various aspects of Europeanness. Following the overwhelming elite consensus in 2012, when Croatia was about to join, MPs are still relatively satisfied with the EU in 2014. We argue beneficiary member mindset prevails among Croatian MPs suppressing any greater degree of Euroscepticism. However, ‘soft Euroscepticism’ is present, especially among right wing HDZ. Our analysis rests on 70 interviews with MPs and is a part of ENEC (2014) project. Croatian MPs take visible consideration of symbolic and strategic aspects when thinking about the EU. They have solid confidence in the EU institutions, report satisfaction with EU returns, favor further policy Europeanization and strongly identify as European elite. Negative feedback about the EU relates to poor representation of Croatia’s interests. Our analysis reveals that by ceding some sovereignty MPs hope to compensate for redistribution of benefits by further policy Europeanization and better channels of interest representation. EU budget receivers seem to be better off in the EU rather than outside.