Discourse and Power in the EU – European Integration

Magnus Linding Frandsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Since Konrad Adenauer became the first chancellor of West Germany, Germany has been a key player in the process of European integration. In recent years, however, the politicians of the EU have been struggling to keep the integration process moving forward, and in many member states the nationalist movements and parties have gained popular support. Despite this, the most dominant political figure, Angela Merkel, remains convinced that the modern EU as institution and as idea is indisput- ably good and just and that the member states share core values and interests. The thesis statement is: How can one explain the lacking sense of community in the EU, e.g. illustrated by “Brexit”, by employing the theories of Michel Foucault regarding power, history and discourse. The hypothesis is that events and discourses from the past limit our way of thinking, but by identifying these limitations and how they were created it becomes possible to think and act in new and more meaningful ways.
The Crimean crisis and Russia will function as a frame of reference to understand how Angela Merkel perceives the concept of a good and just state or union, and the moralities of good and evil. The former German chancellors and the history of Europe since WW1 will also be analysed in order to understand the genesis and truthfulness of modern truths in Europe and to discuss how meaningful or meaningless these are.
The conclusion of this thesis is that the truths and moralities of the EU institution have changed very little during the last 70 years, when WW2 created a significant fracture of the discourse and therefore a common demand of a break with the past, e.g. regarding the Shoah. However, much has changed since then, and it is possible that the citizens of Europe find it difficult to believe in the idea of more EU as opposed to less nation state, because the truths and the unwritten rules of what can be said and done within the EU institution are antiquated. If the ideas and truths of the 20th century are not modernised as a response to the decreasing popular support, it could ultimately lead to a complete stagnation of the European integration process.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages84