The Constitutional Debate Revisited. Patterns of public claims-making in constitutional debates in France and Germany 2001-2005
This article aims to understand how the dynamics of the public debate about the European Constitution changed when the baton was passed from the Convention to the Intergovernmental Conference and to the different national arenas that were expected to ratify the Constitution.
The debate about the European Constitution has generated a considerable degree of media attention over the last years. This article takes a bird’s eye view on the whole process aiming for an understanding of how the dynamics of public debate changed when the baton was passed from the Convention to the Intergovernmental Conference and to the different national arenas that were expected to ratify the Constitution. Based on a comparative outline of constitutional claims-making in quality newspapers in France and Germany between 2001 and 2005 it investigates to what extent the debate on the “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe” contributed to the development of a European public sphere. Such a European or Europeanised public sphere implies that actors, content and interpretations found in public discussions in European states increasingly reach out beyond the borders of nation-states and become transnationalised. Furthermore, the media’s alleged role in generating support for the European integration process or creating scepticism towards the EU Constitution will be further investigated.