Brussels, 11-12 November 2010

The Publics of Europe & the European Public Sphere

Tracing the Architects and Trespassers of Borders and Boundaries in Europe

Hakan G. Sicakkan, EUROSPHERE’s Scientific Coordinator, who opened the conference

The conference was organised by the University of Bergen in Brussels on 11-12 November 2010, and funded by the Norwegian Research Council, the European Commission (FP6) and the University of Bergen. The EUROSPHERE project, in this conference, brought together policymakers (European Commission, European Parliament and other EU bodies), European civil society organizations (non-governmental or social movement organizations, political parties, think tanks, media – including also trans-European networks), and other stakeholders.
The mid-term findings of the project revealed instances of communication channels within Europe, e.g. among elites and social movements. Despite the so called growing Eurosceptic sentiments within Europe, the research results depict that the minority and gender groups are one of the most Europeanized groups within society. Furthermore, the research findings delineate that intensification of cross-border interactions does not necessarily lead to supersession of nationalism with supranational allegiances. In such a context, media and social political actors proves to have limited ability to integrate the European dimension into public debate. The social actors which are organized in Brussels, on the other hand, does not define such an aim to have impact on public discussion, but concentrating on advocacy to EU decision-makers.

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