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[Cross-posted from New Books in European Studies] How those within the Brussels Beltway in the EU institutions must pine for the simple days of the past. Not only was the European project in itself far less contested, but the nature of the journalism surrounding the EU was also far more accommodating.

One of the main lessons of John Lloyd and Cristina Marconi‘s fascinating book Reporting the EU: News, Media and the European Institutions (I. B. Tauris, 2014) is how much it has mirrored the evolution of the European project itself. In the first couple of decades the journalists were as likely to be true believers as the Eurocrats in the corridors of power, even if their reports tended to reflect the concerns and interests of the individual countries that they served. That started to change as the EU (under various names) grew and changed.

In the 1980s the British press developed a real streak of Euroscepticism, and journalists in general began to ask more questions than the Eurocrats were used to. Big developments such as the Maastricht Treaty and the expansion into the poorer corners of the former Soviet Empire begged bigger questions. And then there was the euro crisis, and the current wave of popular Euroscepticism that has found a home in almost every corner of the continent. All the while Eurocrats and EU boosters charged that Euroscepticism was something contrived through the practicing of hostile journalism by spiteful editors in thrall to shadowy media tycoons. If only the people of Europe had a fair picture of what they did, they’d say: then they’d fall in behind the European project once again.

At least the euro crisis has led to the EU finding its way to the front pages of newspapers, along with a widespread realisation that what goes on within that Brussels Beltway (and in places like Berlin) matters to all its citizens far more than they’d realised. The authors of the book hope that recognition will continue to give the EU, for all its complexity, a legitimate place in Europe’s popular media, worthy of this peculiar set of institutions that has grown to have such an impact in so many parts of daily life.

I hope you enjoy the interview!

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