The Maastricht Treaty and public debates about European integration: The emergence of a European public sphere?

Christiane Barth, Patrick Bijsmans*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Maastricht Treaty has widely been identified as a turning point in European integration. However, little dedicated research has been done into how ‘Maastricht’ affected media discourses about Europe. In this article, we aim to shed more light on this matter by means of a qualitative frame analysis of media discourses in Britain and Germany, two countries that have traditionally had different perspectives on European integration. We show that in the course of the debate about the Maastricht Treaty the media discourses in the two countries gradually converged along the same aspects of European integration and increasingly used negative values to evaluate these aspects. This convergence of debates can be seen as representing a nascent transnational public sphere for the discussion of EU affairs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-231
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • European public sphere
  • Media discourse
  • Maastricht Treaty
  • Britain
  • Germany

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