It is a commonplace to characterize the European Union as a contested entity. Obviously, European integration means different things to different people. Importantly, however, this meaning is often filtered through national lenses. As was indicated in Section 1.1, national images and preoccupations greatly informed the expectations politicians had at the start of European integration. What is more, national lenses continue to play a major role in the way the European Union is perceived and evaluated by elites as well as by the peoples at large (Diez Medrano 2003; Lacroix and Nicolaïdis 2010). The persistent differences between national perceptions of Europe are indicative not only of the pervasiveness of national frames of mind but also of the fact that most political debate still takes place within the trusted parameters of the nation-state rather than becoming part of a single panEuropean public sphere.