Promoting European Identity: The Construction and Reconstruction of European Union Identity Myths, Israel vs. Romania

Mira Moshe, Nicoleta Corbu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Academic investigation of European identity has been constantly
challenged in recent decades. While the pessimistic approach (“doom and
gloom”) is based upon the widespread Euroscepticism which criticizes the
enlargement process, the optimistic path portrays European identity as a
promising entity, strengthened by pro-European life-saving migration,
television without frontiers etc. In this context, the present study aims to
identify the way in which the online press promotes the European identity
through the construction and reconstruction of myths that appear in Israeli
and Romanian online media. Juxtaposing these cultural spaces offers the
benefit of diversified perspectives, based on each nation’s political
position vis-à-vis the European Union: Israel, a member of the
Mediterranean European initiative, and Romania, a newly integrated
member state of the EU. These dual analytical economic and political
contexts have revealed “insider” and “outsider” insights with regard to
promoting an optimistic versus a pessimistic mythical perception of
European identity. Moreover, both Romania and the EU have been
undergoing some of their most challenging times in recent months. The
struggles of Romania are connected to the postponement of Schengen
Area integration (postponed in December 2010), while the struggles of the
EU comprise the most difficult economic and political period in its
existence. These circumstances present a unique opportunity to confront
identity construction during the massive and ongoing crises that have
arisen. Hence, we examined all EU-related news from the most prominent
online news sites in Israel and Romania immediately after the
postponement of Romania’s Schengen integration for a period of two
months, January and February 2011. Framing analysis was employed to
identify and compare the ways in which media coverage of the EU has
created and shaped mythological narratives regarding European identity.
The research population included 452 news items identified on the Israeli
news sites Ha’aretz and Ynet, and 289 news reports from the Romanian
news sites Hotnews and Findings showed a dialectical
approach to the European identity. On the one hand, Israeli online media
have fostered the myth of the EU as a powerful and united geopolitical
player, based on a narrative of the foundation and fortification of the
European Union, viewed as a saviour from both an economic and a
political point of view. On the other hand, Romanian media have
constructed a much more fragmented and disruptive image of the EU and
its identity. They have indicated internal inequities, as well as political and
economic disputes. Both sites discuss the imbalance between “old” and
“new” member states, as well as the constant loss of Euroenthusiasm,
which occurred in newly integrated countries soon after their admission
into the EU. In conclusion, the promotion by the media of the EU as a
political myth is dually represented by various reportage patterns x-raying
heterogeneous positions regarding one of the most prominent actors in the
political arena nowadays: the “outsider” view of the EU as a saviour and
the disenchanted “insider” perspective of the EU myth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentity and Intercultural Communication
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-4438-6397-1
ISBN (Print)1-4438-6397-1
StatePublished - 2014


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