Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2xdlg Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T19:17:14.208Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Signs of Europeanization?: the 2014 EP election in European newspapers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2016

Marinella Belluati*
Department of Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Get access


Taking into account the European public sphere and the EU democratic deficit theories, and utilizing the European elections as an evidence, this article demonstrates that despite appearances the European public sphere is showing signs of Europeanization. In the last European electoral campaign, the electorate has gained a more direct voice in the selection of the President of the European Commission. For the first time, EP parties (or party groups) have selected candidates for this position, hence structuring the electoral campaign and giving visibility to such candidates, as suggested by the European Parliament resolution document issued on 4 July 2013. Through political communication approaches, the article explores the impact these guidelines had in the domestic electoral strategies. It does so drawing on a comparative perspective approach. Descriptive content analysis tools are utilized to examine the online edition of articles related to the European election campaign in five European newspapers: The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, La Stampa, and Süddeutche Zeitung. The research focused on (i) coverage of European campaign, (ii) main issues and topics of the electoral debate, (iii) visibility of European and national leaders, and (iv) impact of Eurosceptic perspective in the European election debate. Special attention is given to comparing the different journalistic approaches about gender balance and Euroscepticism. The results of this comparative analysis show a strengthening of the Europeanization of the public sphere.

Research Article
© Società Italiana di Scienza Politica 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Altheide, D.L. (2004), ‘Media logic and political communication’, Political Communication 21: 293296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Banducci, S., Hajo, B., Semetko, H. and de Vreese, C. (2006), ‘The news coverage of the 2004 European Parliamentary Election Campaign in 25 countries’, European Union Politics 7(4): 477504.Google Scholar
Barberio, R. and Macchitella, C. (1992), L’Europa delle Televisioni. Dalla vecchia Radio alla Tv Interattiva, Milano: Feltrinelli.Google Scholar
Belluati, M. (2010), ‘Use your vote La strategia d’informazione europea per le Elezioni 2009’, Comunicazione Politica 11(1): 8187.Google Scholar
Belluati, M. (2015), ‘Europa Liquida. Contraddizioni e ri-orientamenti del processo di costruzione della sfera pubblica in Italia’, in M. Belluati and P. Caraffini (eds) L’unione Europea tra Istituzioni e Opinione Pubblica, Roma: Carocci, pp. 179192.Google Scholar
Belluati, M. and Serricchio, F. (2014), ‘L’Europa va in campagna (elettorale)’, Comunicazione Politica 15(1): 133151.Google Scholar
Bellucci, P. and Sanders, D. (eds) (2011), The Europeanization of National Politics? Citizenship and Support, in a Post-Enlargement Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Bellucci, P., Garcia, D. and Maseda, M. (2010), ‘Campagne elettorali e popolarità dei governi nelle elezioni europee’, ComPol XI(1): 1532.Google Scholar
Bindi, F. (2011), Italy and the European Union, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Bobbio, L. and Roncarolo, F. (eds) (2015), I Media e le Politiche. Come i Giornali Raccontano le scelte Pubbliche che Riguardano la vita dei Cittadini, Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
Börzel, T.A. and Risse, T. (2000), ‘When Europe hits home: Europeanization and domestic change’, European Integration Online Papers (EIoP) 4(15): 120. Scholar
Brechon, P., Cautres, B. and Denni, B. (1995), ‘L’évolution des attitudes à l’égard de l’Europe’, in P. Perrineau and C. Ysmal (eds) Le vote des Douze. Les Élections Éuropéennes de juin 1994, Paris: Presses de Sciences, pp. 203228.Google Scholar
Bressanelli, E. (2012), ‘National parties and group membership in the European parliament: ideology or pragmatism?’, Journal of European Public Policy 19(5): 737754.Google Scholar
Bromley, S. (ed.) (2001), Governing the European Union, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
Brouard, S., Costa, O. and König, T. (eds) (2012), The Europeanization of Domestic Legislatures. The Empirical Implications of the Delors’ Myth in Nine Countries, New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
Campus, D. (2013), Women Political Leaders and the Media, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Caraffini, P. (2015), ‘Cittadini ed istituzioni dell’Unione Europea. Il ruolo di collegamento e di democratizzazione del Parlamento europeo’, in M. Belluati and P. Caraffini (eds) L’unione Europea tra Istituzioni e Opinione Pubblica, Roma: Carocci, pp. 4555.Google Scholar
Della Porta, D. and Caiani, M. (2006), Quale Europa? Europeizzazione, identità e conflitti, Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
De Marte, R. (2013), ‘The European institution on social media’, in A. Maresi and L. D’Ambrosi (eds) Communicating Europe. Shortcomings and Opportunities, Macerata: Edizioni Università di Macerata, pp. 119131.Google Scholar
De Vreese, C., Banducci, S., Semetko, H. and Boomgaarden, H. (2006), ‘The news coverage of the 2004 European Parliamentary election campaign in 25 countries’, European Union Politics 7(4): 477504.Google Scholar
de Vreese, C.H. (2001), ‘Europe’ in the news a cross-national comparative study of the news coverage of key EU events’, European Union Politics 2(3): 283307.Google Scholar
Down, I. and Wilson, C.J. (2008), ‘From “permissive consensus” to “constraining dissensus”: a polarizing union?’, Acta Politica 43: 2649.Google Scholar
Drake, H. (1995), ‘Political leadership and European integration: the case of Jacques Delors’, West European Politics 18(1): 140160.Google Scholar
Entman, R. (1993), ‘Framing: toward clarification of a fractured paradigm’, Journal of Communication 43(4): 5158.Google Scholar
Featherstone, K. and Radaelli, C. (eds) (2003), The Politics of Europeanization, Chapters 4–6. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Ferrara, F. and Weishaupt, T. (2004), ‘Get your act together: party performance in European Parliamentary elections’, European Union Politics 5(3): 283306.Google Scholar
Fossum, J.E. and Schlesinger, P. (eds) (2007), The European Union in the Public Sphere, Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
Franklin, M.N., van der Eijk, C. and Oppenhuis, E.V. (1996), ‘The institutional context: turnout C. van der Eijk, M.N. Franklin, et al.. (eds) Choosing Europe?. The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, pp. 306331.Google Scholar
Giovannini, A. (2015), ‘Devolution in the North of England: time to bring the people into the debate?’. OpenDemocracy UK (open source), 26 March.Google Scholar
Graziano, P. and Vink, M. (eds) (2007), Europeanization: New Research Agendas, Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
Habermas, J. (2011), Il Ruolo dell’intellettuale e la causa dell’Europa, Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
Hallin, D.C. and Mancini, P. (2004), Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hix, S. (2005), The Political System of the European Union, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Hix, S. and Lord, C. (1997), Political Parties and the European Union, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 240.Google Scholar
Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2009), ‘A postfunctionalist theory of European integration: from permissive consensus to constraining dissensus’, British Journal of Political Science 39(1): 123.Google Scholar
Iyengar, S. (1987), In Anyone Possible? How Television Frames Political Issues, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Jamieson, K. (1995), Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership, New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Key, V. (1961), Public Opinion and American Democracy, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Kriesi, H. (2012), ‘The political consequences of the financial and economic crisis in Europe: electoral punishment and popular protest’, Swiss Political Science Review 18(4): 518522.Google Scholar
Krippendorf, K. (2004), ‘Reliability in Content Analysis: Some Common Misconceptions and Recommendations’, Human Communication Research 30(3): 411433.Google Scholar
Ladrech, R. (2010), Europeanization and National Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Legnante, G. (2004), ‘Il voto locale e la politica nazionale’, Il Mulino 5: 857867.Google Scholar
Lord, C. and Harris, E. (2006), Democracy in the New Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan.Google Scholar
Maier, M., Strömbäck, J. and Kaid, L.L. (2011), Political Communication in European Parliamentary Elections, Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Marletti, C. and Mouchon, J. (eds) (2005), La Costruzione Mediatica dell’Europa, Milano: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
Michailidou, A., de Wilde, P. and Trenz, H.-J. (2013), Contesting Europe. Exploring Euroscepticism in Online Media Coverage, Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
Pfetsch, B., Silke, A. and Eschner, B. (2008), ‘The contribution of the press to Europeanization of public debates. A comparative study of issue salience and conflict lines of European integration’, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism 9(4): 463490.Google Scholar
Piattoni, S. (2009), ‘Multi-level governance: a historical and conceptual analysis’, European Integration 31(2): 163180.Google Scholar
Poguntke, T. and Webb, P. (2007), The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Reif, K. (1984), ‘National election cycles and European elections, 1979 and 1984’, Electoral Studies 3(3): 244255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reif, K. and Schmitt, H. (1980), ‘Nine second-order national elections: a conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results’, European Journal of Political Research 8(1): 345.Google Scholar
Rometsch, D. and Wessels, W. (1996), The European Union and Member States, Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
Roncarolo, F. (1995), Controllare i media. Il Presidente Americano e gli Apparati nelle Campagne di Comunicazione Permanente, Milano: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
Roncarolo, F. (2015), ‘A monte della campagna elettorale: Europa e politiche pubbliche nei quotidiani di tre paesi mediterranei’, in M. Belluati and P. Caraffini (eds) L’unione Europea tra Istituzioni e Opinione Pubblica, Roma: Carocci, pp. 207224.Google Scholar
Schmitt, H., Hobolt, S. and Popa, S.A. (2015), ‘Does personalization increase turnout? Spitzenkandidaten in the 2014 European parliament elections’, European Union Politics 16(3): 347368.Google Scholar
Serricchio, F. (2011), Perché gli Italiani Diventano Euroscettici, Pisa: Plus-Pisa University press.Google Scholar
Statham, P. and Trenz, H.-J. (2015), ‘Understanding the mechanisms of EU politicization: lessons from the Eurozone crisis’, Comparative European Politics 13(3): 287306.Google Scholar
Szczerbiak, A. and Taggart, P. (2008), Opposing Europe? The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Taggart, P. (1998), ‘A touchstone of dissent: Euroscepticism in contemporary Western European party systems’, European Journal of Political Research 33: 363388.Google Scholar
Thurman, N. (2007), ‘The globalization of journalism online: a transatlantic study of news websites and their international readers’, Journalism 8: 285307.Google Scholar
Van der Eijk, C. and Franklin, M.N. (eds) (1996), Choosing Europe? The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Viola, D.M. (2015), Handbooks of European Election, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Volkmer, I. (2014), The Global Public Sphere. Public Communication in the Age of Reflective Interdependence, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar