An Emerging Public Sphere in the European Union? the Public Debate and Mobilisation Around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Joke Ariadne Esther Matthieu , Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Didier Caluwaerts , Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been in the spotlights for quite some time. Some loathe the idea of an ambitious free trade agreement with America because of its possible devastating effects. Others see no other option than to combine forces and face the problems of tomorrow together.

Many studies already examined the potential consequences of the TTIP. In this research, however, we will shift the attention, and look at the TTIP-negotiations from the perspective of the European public sphere. After all, one of the interesting aspects of the TTIP is that there are big differences between the member states with regard to their interest, mobilisation, debate and media-coverage around this ground-breaking free trade agreement. In some European countries the TTIP figures in the news weekly, whereas in others the treaty is barely discussed.

This leads us to an interesting paradox: even though the TTIP touches the lives of all European citizens in very profound ways, this treaty is not discussed to the same extent in each member state. Or in other words, the public discussion on the TTIP is distributed very unevenly throughout the European public sphere.

Based on semi-structured interviews, document and media content analysis, this research aims at coming up with a possible explanation for this paradox. More specifically, we focus on the role of civil society organisations, the media, the economic context, and anti-American feelings in explaining these varying levels of public debate about the TTIP.

  • Final_Paper_CES_TTIP_Business as usual.pdf (280.1 kB)