Falling on Deaf Ears?

Olga Eisele

The European Parliament (EP) is the only directly elected institution at the European Union (EU) level, and its empowerment was long regarded to quasi-automatically lead to greater legitimacy of EU politics. The strength of the EP has grown continuously. However, this has not translated into greater appreciation of a crisis-ridden EU which seems more fundamentally questioned than ever before. Starting from the assumption that mass media serve as the most important source of political information and therefore as a crucial connective interface, we explore newspaper contents about the EP and their effects on public support for it to assess the actual link between the people’s representation at EU level and the people at home. The analysis is conducted for EP elections of 2009 and 2014 in Finland, Germany and the UK. Results suggest that effects of coverage on public support of the EP became stronger and more direct in 2014, which is explained by the increased salience of EU politics in times of crisis. However, expectations of what the EP is or should be may have to be adapted to the reality of a second-order parliament.

Department of Communication
Parliamentary Affairs
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508012 Media impact studies, 506004 European integration
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