The Operational Definition of Europeanisation: insights from D1.6

Defining Europeanisation is not an easy task, precisely because of the various elements to consider. The EUMEPLAT project has issued an all-encompassing report (Deliverable 1.6 “Europeanisation: Operational Definition”) highlighting the process of defining such a complex notion, the considerations it ought to ponder, and the implications that flow from it.

This concept is at the heart of the EUMEPLAT project, and this report therefore represents an essential milestone. It builds upon a custom-created semantic map that processes elements through three main dimensions and nineteen approaches. The highlights and results of this analysis are presented hereafter.

Approaches to Europeanisation

Europeanity and Europeanisation are complex and politically sensitive concepts. Based on a semantic map, the authors of the report were able to situate 19 approaches to these concepts on a map with several dimensions (essentialist, discursive, relativist, socio-spatial, material and politico-spatial).

The approaches are hereafter briefly summarised.

European spirit: refers to the idea of Europe and its achievements as a civilization

European values: refers to values anchored in Europe such as human dignity, freedom, equality, and solidarity

European democratic model(s): refers to Europe’s democratic nature and practices

European culture(s): refers to the multicultural and diverse aspects of European culture(s)

European community: refers to the sense of belonging that holds Europe together

European identity: refers to the construction of a shared space on various levels (territory, culture, etc.)

European territories: refers to the geographical area which hosts Europeans

European people (Europeans): refers to the people that embody Europe on its territory

European interactions and dialogues: refer to the performance of interactions between Europeans and European bodies

European (media) industries and capitalist economies: refer to the capitalism that characterize Europe

European public service media: refers to a type of media specific to Europe

European media content: refers to the content produced by the media in Europe

Representations of Europe: refer to the way Europe is represented in the content of European media

European audiences: refer to the behaviors or exposure of audiences in Europe

European public sphere: refers to the practices of European citizens in the decision-making sphere

European (political) institutions: refer to the supranational institutions or the inter-governmental collaborations

European law: refers to the convergence of national legal systems in the European Union

European new social movements: refer to citizen-led organizations offering alternatives for Europe

European citizens(ship): refers to the political relationship between the Europeans and the supranational European structure

Definitions of Europeanisation and EU-isation

Based on these approaches, the concept of Europeanisation was able to be defined as a “complex process of political and policy change”, referring to structural time-based changes and to the European assemblage, which consists of an entanglement of discursive and material components that characterise the fact of being European in a diversity of ways. The goal of Europeanisation is europeanising and harmonising the regulatory aspects of the economy.

EU-isation is the Europeanisation’s modern variant and acts as the “drive lever of incremental engagement of the EU in the media sectors of its member states”. It applies to policy transfer and is more centered on the implications that EU institutions and legislation have on EU Member States’ domestic level.

Europeanisation and EU-isation are two sides of the same coin, with Europeanisation as a prerequisite to EU-isation and EU-isation as the basis of the modern Europeanisation process. The report summarizes this relationship as follows: “EU-isation does not exist without the prior process of Europeanisation, and Europeanisation, in its current iteration, cannot work and expand its scope and focus without the accomplishments that EU-isation offers”.

The report points out the unpredictability of the Europeanisation’s outcomes and draws some essential considerations to comprehend these two different while interdependent concepts.

Download the Deliverable 1.6 “Europeanisation: Operational Definition”