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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 14 - 2007, No. 2

Presentations of Europe on political party websites during the 2004 EP election campaign

, , , pages: 63 - 82

In this article we investigate the online communication about Europe as present on websites produced by French, British and Dutch political parties during the 2004 European Parliament (EP) election campaign. It is through the manner in which Europe is presented within this online communication that political parties’ view on what constitutes “Europe” becomes manifest. It is argued that the existence of common understandings of what constitutes “Europe” being shared among political parties from various EU member states can be considered an indicator of Europeanisation of political communication and, subsequently, of a European public sphere. This article elaborates on the national and cross-national diff erences and similarities regarding the manner in which Europe is presented in the content of political party websites. We report on two presentations: (1) the focus (European versus national) in which the issue domains interests, identity and values are mentioned in parties’ online communication about Europe, and (2) the attitude towards Europe (positive versus negative) expressed by these parties. Cross-national similarities in parties’ online communication about Europe were observed among the liberal parties, the sovereign and extreme right-wing parties, and the green parties. More diversity was observed among the social democratic parties and centre-right parties.

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