Political Narratives on Europe in the Big Three of the EU: Germany, France and Britain

  • Abstract:

    How has the European narrative articulated in the political discourses of national parties in the member states, which frames have been adopted and to which direction has such articulations evolved in time? This paper addresses this question and critically discusses political parties’ discourses towards Europe and European integration in three EU member states: Germany, which has always promoted further integration; the United Kingdom, which has consistently been a keen supporter of intergovernmentalism; and finally the Netherlands, one of the original six and a willing, yet cautious, supporter of supranational cooperation. Through a textual analysis of national election manifestos issued by the two biggest parties between 1955 and 2013 in each country, we aim to investigate the variance in national political cultures with respect to identity and self-identification with Europe as a determining factor of support for the integration process. This paper concludes that although European integration is structured around a framework of interests in all the six party discourses under analysis, the construction of national identities and hence the articulation of national interest in EU membership as well as the visions for the political structure of the union vary greatly across cases.