ABSTRACT

As we outlined in the introduction, the opportunity for people to see and be able to form opinions about the European-level of governance strongly depends on the degree to which European issues, decisions and policies are visible in public debates carried by national mass media. Unless readers have the opportunity to receive information about actors from other European national polities, and those from the European-level polity, it is difficult to see how Europeanization, in the sense of meaningful exchanges of opinions reaching across borders and political levels, could develop at all in response to EU Constitution-making. The performance of national mass media in supplying a field of political communication that contains voices from other countries and from the EU-level is crucial to this process.1 Without Europe becoming sufficiently visible in the public domain, then the type of EU politicization that we envisage has no chance of evolving. From one side, political actors need to see interventions in mediated public debates as a purposeful way to try and either shape decision-making, or make their decisions convincing to others, in their competition with other political actors. And from the other, unless there is a mediated public debate over the Constitution where a range of political actors are able to express their viewpoints then there will be few chances for the general public of Europeans to gain access to the claims that could potentially make a European Constitution resonate as a convincing and reasonable idea, and shape public opinion.