ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we set the scene for the subsequent study in three ways. First, we unpack the potential contribution of a public sphere perspective for the EU studies’ literature on the European Union and integration, with reference to the EU’s Constitutionalization. This involves outlining the normative, critical and analytic orientation of our study of the European public sphere. Second, we move from addressing these conceptual academic concerns to outline the series of actual political events that drove the EU’s process of Constitution-making. Here we describe the characteristics of the time-phases through which the political process advanced and give particular attention to features that are relevant for the public dimension. Third, in the last part of the chapter, we focus attention on the EU institutions’ efforts to ‘go public’ through their own public communication policies and strategies. These attempts by EU institutions to communicate with their citizens have evolved and run alongside the EU’s efforts to Constitutionalize. The logic of the EU’s own communication policy and strategies is indicative of how the EU institutionally views the potential for public communication as a tool for constituencybuilding and so is relevant to our discussion of the public sphere.