”From the northern perspective, Europe is sloping: If you do not hold on to your coin, it will roll towards the Mediterranean.” – The framing of the EU Recovery Fund in the European public sphere in 2020

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106162849
Title: ”From the northern perspective, Europe is sloping: If you do not hold on to your coin, it will roll towards the Mediterranean.” – The framing of the EU Recovery Fund in the European public sphere in 2020
Author: Tuulensuu, Tiina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106162849
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/331238
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Euroopan ja pohjoismaiden tutkimuksen maisteriohjelma (European and Nordic Studies)
Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies
Magisterprogrammet i Europa- och Nordenstudier
Specialisation: Social Sciences Study Track
Social Sciences Study Track
Social Sciences Study Track
Abstract: This thesis examines the Europeanisation of public spheres. According to the deliberative democratic theory, political decisions need to be based on public consideration. Similarly to the decision-making processes in the nation states, in order for democracy to function also in the European Union, there is a need for a joint European public sphere where the peoples of Europe can discuss common issues of relevance and thereby contribute to the EU decision-making. Research conducted on the gradual Europeanisation of public spheres examines how politicisation of EU issues on the national levels contributes to cross-border communication, creation of joint communities of communication and a strengthening of collective European identity. Drawing on previous research in this field, this study highlights communication flows and discursive frames in the selected national media outlets and examines to what extent these discussions point to the emergence of a collective European identity strong enough to sustain mutualisation of debt and fiscal transfers, justifying ”solidarity among strangers” within the community. Through analysis of media coverage on the EU Recovery Fund – the political and politicised face of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic response on the EU level – this thesis examines to what extent the public spheres in Germany, France and Finland are Europeanised in these debates and whether it is possible to identify a joint community of communication pointing to a collective European identity. The theoretical framework of this study draws largely on Jürgen Habermas’s public sphere theory and its later developments (and criticisms) as well as on the growing body of literature on the gradual Europeanisation of national public spheres in the EU Member States. Contrary to the early studies on the European public sphere, later research points towards increasing politicisation of EU affairs in the national public spheres and the related strengthening of Europeanisation. No consensus, however, exists yet among researchers on whether these developments will lead to enhanced European identity and further integration or renationalisation and further rise of Euroscepticism. This thesis contributes to that discussion through a case study on the Europeanisation of national public spheres in relation to the discussion on the EU Recovery Fund in 2020.
Subject: Europeanisation of public spheres
public sphere theory
frame analysis
identity
solidarity
EU Recovery Fund
European Union


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