Petra Huyst


After the rejection of the European Constitution in 2005, questions were raised about if and how European citizens feel connected to the European Union (EU). This article examines the image young, Flemish people have of the EU and whether they feel some sense of belonging in the EU. The research draws upon a qualitative study in which Flemish young people were asked how they felt towards the EU and how they perceived it. Using a social-constructionist perspective, the first part of the article concentrates on the concept of European identity and the theoretical divide between a civic and a cultural European political identity, as proposed by Bruter (2004). The second part of the article focuses on the results of a series of focus groups with young people (aged 17 to 19), held in spring 2007. The article argues that no strong European identity is yet present in the hearts and minds of these young people, although contexts and interactions might evoke a limited notion of European identity. This article offers an empirical account of a theoretical debate and presents a critical understanding of the dynamics at play in European identity construction.


Article Keywords

European identity

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