The media and democratic legitimacy in EU foreign policy. The role of transnational, British and Romanian media in the EU's approach to climate change and its policy towards Russia
thesisposted on 27.01.2014, 14:25 by Cristian Nitoiu
The issue of democratic deficit and crisis of legitimacy has been at the forefront of the development of the European project in the last twenty years. However, little attention has been directed towards analysing the way in which democratic legitimacy underlines the construction of the EU s foreign policy. This thesis draws on a broad understanding of democratic legitimacy which is seen to encompass various aspects: transparency, accountability, responsiveness and openness to public debate. It shows that the media had a positive effect (although in contrasting degrees) on the democratic legitimacy of the EU s foreign policy in two issue areas, highlighting the ways in which it achieved this. Drawing on insights from political theory, it argues that the European public sphere has the potential to foster the four characteristics highlighted above through the ability of the media to politicise foreign policy issues, which are commonly closed off from democratic scrutiny. Three types of interaction effects between the media and policymakers within the European public sphere are identified: indexing, bounding and agenda setting. Firstly, indexing captures the ability of policymakers to influence and shape media discourse in order to aid their interests and goals by communicating in a favourable manner their policies to the general public. Secondly, through bounding the media can have a constraining or limiting effect on the range of policies and their effectiveness that policymakers can pursue, even if the latter are not aware of or willing to engage with the frames constructed by journalists. Finally, agenda setting captures the ability of the media to purposively influence decision-making processes through its discourse. Empirically two distinct areas of EU foreign policy are explored: the EU s approach to global climate change and its policy towards Russia. Hence, the study makes a significant contribution to the understanding of EU foreign policy and to its international actorness. Secondly, it extends in a comprehensive manner the debate regarding the crisis of legitimacy and democratic deficit in the EU to the realm of foreign policy. Finally, it also contributes to the literature on Foreign Policy Analysis which engages with the issue of democratic legitimacy.
- Social Sciences
- Politics and International Studies