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In Whose Interest? The Role of National Identity Conceptions in Shaping Public Discourse on the EU Free Movement of Persons in British and Polish Popular Press

Andrew Anzur Clement

As consequences of the right of free movement of persons have become more visible, it has become apparent that outcomes of allowing such movement have not been completely in line with its perceived effects in public discourses of both the west and the east of the European Union (EU). Taking issue with transactionalist appeals for supranational affection, this contribution takes news narrative as a conduit through which a 'pulse' of public discourse can be taken regarding issues relating to free movement. It makes use of low-quality press in the public spheres of two states - the UK and Poland - which have opposite relations to the single market. In the former, said right was positioned as a means of eroding the perceived national situation by forcing extension of solidarity ties to unequal, non-members of national identity. In the latter, free movement was framed as failing to fulfill claims of equality with the West. Thus, the identity-based interests of the two states mirrored each other. National identity filters perception of interests in free movement. It may stand to interfere with the creation of an affective identification with Europe.

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