In This Review

The Politicization of Europe: Contesting the Constitution in the Mass Media
The Politicization of Europe: Contesting the Constitution in the Mass Media
By Paul Statham and Hans-Jörg Trenz
Routledge, 2012, 224 pp.

The EU has traditionally all but ignored national publics in Europe and has been all but ignored by them. Yet one of the major developments of the last decade is that ordinary Europeans now pay more attention to what happens in Brussels and often respond negatively. This book traces the origins of that trend to a number of national referendums held in 2005 on a draft European constitution, most notably those held in France and the Netherlands. The constitution was the work of supranational officials in Brussels hoping to create a tighter union. The effort backfired when publics across the continent turned against the idea of an even more unified Europe. Still, Statham and Trenz contend that this shift has been less significant than it might appear. Their careful data analysis shows that political debates over Europe remain essentially national, with voters paying relatively little attention to foreign voices or issues. To be sure, debates about the euro are the exception; the single currency is the first pan-European issue of sustained interest to voters, mostly because it has created clear winners and losers.