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Romanian Online Media and the Prospects for an Instrumental European Identity

Author(s): Roxana Maria Dascalu

Journal: Revista Română de Comunicare şi Relaţii Publice
ISSN 1454-8100

Volume: 14;
Issue: 5 Special Issue;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: European identity | European funds | EU-funded programmes and projects | instrumental European identity.

The emergence of a European public sphere (EPS) and of a European identity (EI) are the fundamental interconnected processes which decide the shape of the nowadays European polity. EU member states' citizens should have a European identity, be it a secondary one, to actively participate in private and public debates concerning EU affairs, policies and common future. A fresh perspective in the field considers that the nature of the compatibility between national and European identities (which do not exclude each other) is revealed by the process of identity emergence: while national identities are largely "cultural", European identities are primarily "instrumental". The paper argues that instrumental European identity, as the identity based on self-interest calculation, is a reality. EU has been experimenting new ways to contribute to the emergence of a EI, trying to promote to its citizens symbols as identity markers once used by nations with the same aim (such as a flag, an anthem, a currency). In the EU context, funding opportunities are also being used to fosterEI acquisition. In this theoretical context, a content analysis was conducted on two online news portals in Romania – www.hotnews.roand – for the March-June 2012 time frame in order to answer questions such as: Which are the markers and frames of an instrumental European identity promoted through articles about EU funds, posted on the two news portals?; how visible are EU identity markers and frames reflected through news on the management of EU funds and the implementation of EU-funded programmes and projects?; which is the predominance of such news?; how do Romanian citizens comment on these news in terms of identity acquisition? Moreover,this research will be compared with a similar one conducted for the March-June 2011 time frame. The Euro crisis, the low rate of EU funds' absorption and the problems regarding the Operational Programmes under the cohesion objective in Romania, which havetriggered "sticks" from the EU, have changed the results of the research conducted last year. Nevertheless, the paper still shows the relevance of the EU identity markers and specific frames in building an Instrumental European identity.
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