Stefanie Walter
Research proposal: EU citizens in the European public sphere

ECPR Summer School, University of Ljubljana, July 25th to August 10th, 2012

Democratic legitimacy originates from the people, where people refers to the citizens of a political community. In the context of the European Union (EU), the involvement of citizens in European governance was not of primary importance for policy makers (see Dalton and Duval 1986, p. 113; van Deth 2008, p. 242). However, politicians have become more aware of the importance and necessity of civic involvement and support for the European integration. One major benchmark that aimed to bring the EU closer to its citizens was the establishment of the European citizenship with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The European citizenship also implies that the EU is no longer merely a community of states, but should become a political community as well. Furthermore, it postulates the demand of accountability of EU governance. This research aims to answer the question whether EU citizens also become visible in the European public sphere.