European Politics Behind Closed Doors: The Origins of Euroscepticism in Slovenia


  • Jure Gašparič Institute of Contemporary History
  • Andrej Pančur Institute of Contemporary History
  • Jure Skubic Institute of Contemporary History



EU, Euroscepticism, politics, voter outreach, elections


Euroscepticism is a common political problem in many EU member states or potential candidates. There is a general belief that the EU is a giant bureaucratic structure and as such distant, colossal and suspicious, which creates a growing distance between the EU and its citizens. Such ambivalent sentiment towards the EU could be noticed also in Slovenia after it gained independence from Yugoslavia and started the process of joining the EU. The general public opinion about the EU was rather low – people were generally sympathetic about the EU but never completely enthusiastic about it. What attributed to such attitude was also the fact that politicians adopted several regulations without properly informing the public therefore leaving people uninformed about potentially important issues. In this paper, we argue that the threat to representative democracy is not so much in politicians not keeping their promises but rather in politicians not telling their constituents what they are working on and adopting more regulations than communicated with public. Our analysis of election manifestos, public opinion and press releases uncovers two fundamental problems of the Slovenian government between 2000 and 2004. The first one is an almost routine adoption of EU regulations without serious public debates and the second government’s failure to communicate relevant matters with public in a timely manner, problematize them and bring them closer to people. Although the analysis focuses on events that happen around 20 years ago, we believe that our findings are highly relevant also for the state of Slovenian politics today.


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