This project is supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0599, contract number 318/ 1.10.2015, budget - 520835 RON.

         

Throughout the years, attempts have been made to bridge the gap between EU organizations and European citizens: the European Capital of Culture, European Years, or EU's online platforms. The main aims of these attempts have been to adopt a ‘bottom-up’ strategy of communication. Starting from three major weakness (continuous fragmentation of communication; messages reflecting political priorities; inadequate implementation), the Commission has had a new approach to earn people’s interest and trust by applying the principles of subsidiarity and decentralization (Pütz, 2002). This approach has focused on listening, communicating and connecting with citizens by "going local".

The e-platforms have gradually introduced the debate within the European online public sphere, thus providing a new insight into  Bakhtin's participatory dialogue and heteroglossia (Wodak & Koller, 2008). Within such a context where European citizens turned into online (de)legitimators or prosumers of information, the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the discussions on the Futurum platform (Wodak & Wright, 2006) or the EU EUROPA website (Hoppmann, 2010) showed the following aspects: the debate discussants belonged to a small range of countries, a diversity of languages was noticed despite the dominance of English, the issues on policies are highly politically and ideologically loaded, the debates among citizens might reduce the democratic deficit in terms of the nature of the discourse.

Alongside with Futurum or EUROPA, the ‘Debating Europe’ platform is a virtual public sphere where three principles rule: inclusiveness, diversity, and citizen participation. Launched in 2011 and having the European Parliament as a strategic partner, the 'Debating Europe' platform claims to foster a two-way debate and to target a more involved and critical European citizen. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we intend through our project (e-Eurociti) to provide valuable insights into the degrees of both discursive and network engagement of European citizens and policymakers on the 'Debating Europe' platform.