Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Rhetorics of Hope and Outrage: Emotion and Cynicism in the Coverage the Schengen Accession

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Abstract:  Discourses on European integration and Euroscepticism have benefitted from increased interest after Brexit. Researchers point out that there is a great variance from one national context to another and that there is a gap in the literature concerning non-elite discourses and perspectives from Central and Eastern European countries such as Romania. The Eurobarometer findings of early 2023 indicate a shift in Romanian public opinion towards Euroscepticism. To better understand the potential causes for these shifts, we approach the politicisation of the issue in Romania through an analysis of online news headlines and related social media news sharing metadata. In the aftermath of the decision not to accept Romania and Bulgaria, this research investigates shifts in the media framing of the Schengen issue and EU over two months (from October 15 to December 15, 2022) in the 14 most accessed Romanian online news sites (with more than 10 million visits per month). Quantitative analysis of news headlines (N = 3,362) shows that the coverage focuses on Romanian politicians in power and emphasises conflict. Furthermore, the analysis of the interactions produced by news sharing of the analysed sample shows the impact of the political rhetoric encouraging the boycotting of Austrian companies in retaliation for the denial of Schengen Area accession: scapegoating and disenchantment with politics and politicians. The two-step approach used and results that use Facebook interactions as indicators of public resonance of politicisation and strategic framing may be replicated in future research.

Keywords:  discursive patterns; emotionality; Euroscepticism; Facebook; linguistic indicators; news sharing; Romania; Schengen Area


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© Radu M. Meza. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.