ECREA TWG - Special panel

Special Panel of the ECREA Temporary Working Group "Communication and the European Public Sphere"

Keynote speaker: Wieger BAKKER

Dr. Wieger Bakker is director of the undergraduate school of the Utrecht University School of Governance and was recently appointed as professor of ‘Quality and Innovation of Society Oriented Higher Education’ at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. Trained as a sociologist in public policy and public administration, he did research in the field of Education and of Development Cooperation, with a focus on tensions in policy making between rationality and power and between plan and practice. Currently he is participating in a FP-7 program on Barriers for European Citizenship ( In this project his research focusses on education for European citizenship and on future scenario’s for European citizenship. See also:

Panel head: Alina Bârgăoanu, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania

In the context of European integration, concepts as European identity, European public sphere or Europeanization become more frequent in everyday speech, especially regarding media’s role in spreading the feeling of affiliation to a European family. The process of Europeanization suggests a “top-down diffusion of common political rules, norms and practices in Europe” (Hughes, Sasse & Gordon, 2005). Considering the level of Europeanization (Brüggemann & Kleinen-von Königslöw, 2009), we can then refer to a European public sphere, to Europeanized national public spheres or simply to national public spheres (de Vreese, 2007, Risse, 2003).

Communication plays a key role in the Europeanization of the national public spheres. The Europeanization process can develop by an increase in reporting and broadcasting European topics in national media and some indicators of the process can be that EU official protagonists enter in debate with protagonists from other places, different actors from EU member states take part in debates on common issues and agree upon solutions, similar topics are discussed simultaneously in the media of several EU states, EU protagonists from different states interact through national media inquiries, Brussels’ policies are present on news agenda from EU member states (Machill, Beiler & Fischer, 2006).

This panel seeks contributions that may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Mediated communication and the Europeanization processes (top-down and bottom-up)
  • Mass media and Europeanization
  • Mass media and the European public sphere
  • The democratic deficit of the EU and the European public sphere
  • The European public sphere – a utopia or an ideal in the making?
  • Europeanization of the national public spheres

Dr. Alina Bârgăoanu

Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu is the ProRector/Vice-President of the NUPSPA. As a full-time Professor, she delivers the following courses: EU Regional and Cohesion Policy, EU Communication Policy, Mass Media and Society. Her research interests revolve around European integration studies, with a particular focus on EU communication and European public sphere. She has authored 5 books and over 30 articles on EU communication related themes. She is a Jean Monnet Chair in the field of EU Communication and the European Public Sphere.

She has a Ph.D in Communication and she was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Alabama (USA) in the field of communication and mass media research. Between 2008 and 2011, Prof. Bârgăoanu is the academic coordinator of the Jean Monnet Teaching Module “Communicating Europe”, successfully concluded at end-2011. She is also a Board member of ACREA – an academic association containing 10 European universities that functions as a working committee within the EUPRERA group Communicating Europe to the Europeans. She is the President of the ECREA Temporary Working Group on Communication and the European Public Sphere.