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The European Public Sphere

From Critical Thinking to Responsible Action


Edited By Luciano Morganti and Léonce Bekemans

The development of a fully fledged European Public Sphere is seen by many as the solution to the legitimation crisis the European Union is suffering today. It is conceived as a space in which a Europe-wide debate about the current economic, social and political crises can take place and through which solutions can be developed.
This book proposes a new multi-disciplinary approach to discuss the European Public Sphere, arguing that it should be approached as a complex and interlinking concept, considering issues such as identity, citizenship building and multi-level governance structures and actors, and that it should not be analysed merely from the traditional perspectives of information and communication policies.
The volume presents both academic papers and more policy-oriented contributions, offering perspectives from scholars, politicians, consultants and administrators to give the reader a truly multidisciplinary understanding of the European Public Sphere.


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PART 3 EUROPEAN PUBLIC SPHERE(S), COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION STRATEGIES AND POLICIES 121 Communication and Information Strategies and Policies for the European Public Sphere Between Rhetoric and Facts Luciano MORGANTI Senior Researcher, Vrije Universiteit Brussels Leo VAN AUDENHOVE Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussels Feelings of Belonging: the Gap Between the Heart and the Mind1 Some sixty years after the creation of the European Communities, the majority of EU citizens have a positive appreciation of the European Union (EU) integration project. However, an important information gap still exists between these citizens and the institutions in Brussels. Citi- zens lack the information needed to properly assess the EU project and to meaningfully participate in EU related public debates – two condi- tions for a well functioning European Public Sphere (EPS). What is more, most of these citizens seem to lack the motivation to acquire information and seek opportunities to participate. This is confirmed by multiple surveys carried out by the Eurobarom- eter. European citizens are generally in favour of the EU integration project and of the principles inspiring it, namely peace, respect for human rights, the rule of law, economic development and, last but not least in the European context, social protection. At the end of 2004 Eurobarometer 62 showed that the EU citizens from the 25 Member States were convinced that being Members of the EU was a positive rather than a negative thing (56% vs. 13%). In the same study, 50% of 1 A more extensive version of the considerations expressed in...

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