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A Different Union Being Created? Newspaper Portrayal of the EU in Crises in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary

Max Steuer

How is the EU in crises represented in the media discourse? In this paper I examine media portrayal of the EU in crises inductively, relying on frames that emerge from the empirical data. This inductive approach helps understand how the EU in crises is depicted in online versions of six national quality newspapers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. I conceptualize crisis framing through three dimensions – the actor in focus, the attribution of responsibility and the expected outcome of the crises. These dimensions allow identifying the main patterns of portrayal of the crises in these media through qualitative content analysis. The analysis encompassing the period from 2008 to June 2016 shows, firstly, that crises have come to define the modus operandi of the day-to-day EU politics as perceived by the six newspapers under study. Secondly, the responsibility particularly for the most recent ‘migration/refugee crisis’ is largely attributed to the ‘EU in Brussels’ and the abstract ‘European elite’. Finally, a gloomy picture emerges about the future of the ‘crisis-struck’ Union. Based on these findings, I argue for ‘de-crisising’ as a way towards a more positive framing of the EU in the media discourse.



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