Abstract: Scholars have expressed concern about the growth of Eurosceptic discourses in the media since Taggart’s (1998) article on Euroscepticism. While some progress has been made in understanding the media’s role in increasing Euroscepticism, previous studies have primarily focused on Western European media discourses. This research aims to address the knowledge gap on Eurosceptic discourse in Eastern Europe by analysing the impact of the veto against Romania and Bulgaria’s application to join Schengen, as reflected in mainstream media. The research question is: To what extent the Eurosceptic discourse arose in both countries in the weeks before and after the Justice and Home Affairs Council (8–9 December 2022)? The findings indicate that mainstream-mediated discourse employed a strategy of downplaying Euroscepticism. The Romanian and Bulgarian political class labelled the failure to join Schengen as “disappointing,” “unfair,” “unjustified,” and “regrettable.” This research provides evidence of how mainstream media discourses addressed the issue while promoting the European integration project by minimising Euroscepticism.
Keywords: Bulgaria; Euroscepticism; mainstream media; populism; Romania; Schengen Area