Working Group 2: Perception


Our goals

Working Group 2 focuses both external and internal images of the EU. Knowledge of EU external images – in the EU’s neighborhood and far away from its borders – is the key to analyse gaps between expectations of the EU and the new realities of the changing world. Systematic comparative analysis of self and external perceptions in their interaction and co-construction is an effective means to chart the extent to which the EU is recognized by external partners and internal stakeholders to be a credible and leading actor able to shape global debate and policies at a time of major global challenges.

Working Group 2 ensures interdisciplinary innovative synergies between studies of the EU and its foreign policy, International Relations, political communication and psychology, media, linguistics, identity and cultural studies. It tests new theories and a range of methods to add to the explanation of images, frames, perceptions and narratives projected by the EU – and understood by audiences – inside the EU, in the European neighborhood and around the world.

Our activities

In the current period, the Working Group focuses on preparing and circulating policy papers and policy briefs. The topics we cover include, but are not limited to, Europe’s neighbourhood policy, climate and energy policy, and the interaction between the European institutions and the Member States in the EU’s external policy agenda.

We encourage both academic and non-academic authors to boost the outreach of their work by preparing short executive summaries of their research findings. The COST action will then circulate them in the relevant policy arena in the EU. For more information, please contact the group leaders.

How to participate

Please contact the Working Group leaders in order to join the mailing list and follow our Research Gate project to interact with the group directly.

Our outcomes

Osička, Jan; Kemmerzell, Jörg; Zoll, Maksymilian; Lehotský, Lukáš; Černoch, Filip; Knodt, Michèle (2020): What’s next for the European coal heartland? Exploring the future of coal as presented in German, Polish and Czech press, in: Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 61,

This article addresses the future of coal in the European coal heartland, i.e. in the area of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, which together account for nearly 57% of coal consumption and 87% of coal-mining jobs in the EU. It approaches the problem within the interpretative tradition of social research and explores the coverage of the future of coal in major newspapers and political magazines in the three countries. The results show that despite similar material conditions, the issue is presented in a fundamentally different manner as the media tend follow the dominant energy policy paradigm in their countries: in Germany, they facilitate the phase-out policies; in Poland, they act as an inhibiting factor; while in the Czech Republic, their coverage echoes the political uncertainty around lignite mining in the northwest part of the country. The results also suggest that the media act mainly as a platform for the countries’ decision makers and energy policy stakeholders to voice their perspectives. The prevalent media coverage thus simultaneously enable and constrain policy options by promoting dominant discourses and preventing alternative views from surfacing.