The traumatic failure of the European constitution seems to confirm doubts about a European public sphere that effectively interacts with the European Union and holds it to account. Is a European public sphere truly impossible? While many social scientists have claimed as much, their observations are often based on only a short period of recent history. This book provides the first long-term historical analysis of a political European public sphere and its development over time.
Focusing on how British, French and German newspapers covered major European Council summits from The Hague in 1969 to Maastricht in 1991, it suggests that major milestones in European integration have long been accompanied by an increasingly controversial debate in the media. Moreover, the European public sphere has undergone a notable structural transformation. The growth of a more developed European political system since the 1970s has led to a more politicised, more differentiated, more inclusive European public sphere, an increase of transnational communication and changes in European identification.