European Public Sphere - the European Union and its Coverage in the Media of the Member States

European Public Sphere - the European Union and its Coverage in the Media of the Member States


The second event of the international conference series on Media and Politics at the European Youth Centre Budapest, Council of Europe on 2-3 June, 2000.

European Public Sphere - the European Union and its Coverage in the Media of the Member States and the Candidate Countries


Venue: Budapest, 1024 Zivatar utca 1-3.

First Day, 2 June, 2000

8.50 - 9.20 Registration
9.30 - 10.00 Welcome Speeches
- Antje Rothemund (director, European Youth Centre Budapest, Council of Europe)
- Péter Gottfried (head, State Secretariat for Integration, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Eckhardt Jaedtke (councellor, Delegation of the European Commission to Hungary)

First Session: EU, Media, Candidate Countries

10.00 - 11.00 - Chair: Éva Bakonyi (director, Hungarian Soros Foundation)
- István Hegedűs (vice chairman, Hungarian Europe Society): Why Do We Like the European Union?
- £ukasz Lipiñski (journalist, Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw): The Image of the European Union in the Polish Media

11.00 - 11.20 Break

11.20 - 12.30 - Chair: András B. Vágvölgyi (journalist, Budapest)
- Hana Kabeleova (editor, Integrace, Prague): Czech Attitudes to the European Union

12.30 - 14.00 Break

14.00 - 14.30 Special Contribution by Daniel Vernet (editor, Le Monde, Paris): France, the European Union and the Media

Second Session: EU, Media, Candidate Countries - continued

14.30 - 16.00 - Chair: István Hegedűs (vice-chairman, Hungarian Europe Society) 
- Grigorij Meseznikov (president, Institute for Public Affairs, Bratislava): Political Actors' Views on European Integration in the Slovak Media
- Snjezana Milivojevic (lecturer, Alternative Academic Educational Network, Belgrade): Distant Europe - Media Repression and Politics of Isolation

16.00 - 16.20 Break

16.20 - 17.45 Chair: József Péter Martin (editor, Figyelő, Budapest)
- Maria Strizhevskaya (journalist, Sreda, Moscow): The European Union from Russia 
- Ihsan Duran Dagi (associate professor, Middle East Technical University, Ankara): The European Union and the Turkish Public Opinion
Concluding Remarks by Gabriel Andreescu (vice-president, Center for International Studies, Bucharest)

Second Day, 3 June, 2000

Third Session: European Union, Media, Member States

9.30 - 11.20 - Chair: Gabriella Zs. Cseh (vice-chairman, Hungarian Europe Society)
- Martyn Bond (director, The Federal Trust, London): Europe in the British media
- Andreas Pribersky (researcher, Institute for Political Science, Univerity of Vienna): Haider, the European Union and the Austrian Media

11.20 - 11.45 Break

Fourth Session: Towards a European Public Sphere?

11.45 - 13.30 Chair: Béla Rásky (director, Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office, Budapest)
- Deirdre Kevin (researcher, The European Institute for Media, Düsseldorf): Debates about Europe in National News
- Mogens Schmidt (director, European Journalism Centre, Maastricht): Eastern and Western Media Mirroring Stereotypes
Concluding Remarks by Györgyi Kocsis (Brussels correspondent, HVG)

The Organisers of the Conference: Hungarian Europe Society, Hungarian Council of the European Movement, Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ), Openness Club (Hungary).
Conference Co-ordinators: Réka Fürtös, Rita Gergely, Réka Sárközy, Anna Simon.
The conference has been sponsored by the Network Media Program of the Open Society Institute, the European Commission, Freedom House, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the British Embassy to Hungary, the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office in Budapest and the European Youth Centre Budapest of the Council of Europe.


According to the plans, the second conference of the series was dedicated to the media issues concerning the European Union and its enlargement. Since the deepening of the political and economic integration, as well as the enlargement of the EU have been on the political agenda for many years, the contribution of the international media to the formation of this new European 'project' was to be discussed at this conference. Media analyzers, European and national-level politicians, social scientists, students from the member states and the candidate countries were invited to discuss elite and public perceptions of the European Union. A special attention was to be paid to the ways and means of the coverage of the EU decision-making processes and 'Brussels' in the national press, whilst attitudes and behavior of the political 'players' in 'two-level games', so characteristic for European politics, were to be analyzed, as well. According to observers, the media might have a more important impact on forming the attractiveness or 'destroying' the good image of the EU in Central and Eastern Europe, where citizens do not have personal-direct experiences with the political culture of the European intergovernmental debates. Nevertheless, political ideologies on an 'ever closer Union' - pro-Europeanism (federalism), euroscepticism and 'europessimism' - differentiate public debate in the member states and, increasingly, in the candidate countries. These topics were supposed to be discussed together with another issue, the lack of a common European public sphere, especially a strong common commercial and public service European media.


At this event international specialists dealing with the European Union agreed that the media in Europe is fragmented and has mostly a national perspective on EU-affairs. Just to quote Mogens Schmidt: "Allow me to immediately give a brief answer to the headline of this session "Towards an European public sphere?" I do not think we have one yet, and I am slightly sceptical as to the pace of the development towards it. When we look at the initiatives that have been taken to initiate pan-European media, they have all failed or are badly suffering." For Pro-Europeans, the situation is quite critical in the United Kingdom: "Although statistical evidence is thin, it is commonly assumed that the Euro-sceptic media in Britain is the cause of declining popularity for European integration. It is certainly true that popular media, in particular the press, are largely Euro-sceptic", as Martyn Bond described the general values, attitudes and opinions of the British public debate. In the candidate countries, first of all in Hungary, europessimism has emerged in spite of the common wish of the elite and the public to join the EU as soon as possible. "This common wisdom of the mainstream Hungarian europessimists might be characterised by three elements: pragmatism, which is very reluctant to accept the impact of ideas, ideologies and values on political life; Marxist tradition, which overemphasises (economic) interests in social and political matters; provincialism, which cannot comprehend unusual or unknown behaviour and motivation in international political life.", as István Hegedűs interpreted the cultural background of Hungarian public reactions to the long-lasting process of accession. The strengthening of European identities, as a consequence of deeper political integration of the member states, might, perhaps, give new opportunities to the development of a European media later on. 


Media coverage: 

Beszélő, 3. szám, Évfolyam 6.

03 June 2000.