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The European Project : A Comparative Critical Discourse Analysis of Three State of the Union Speeches


  • Louise Svensson

Summary, in English

This thesis is a qualitative study on how the current President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, views the on-going project of European integration and how he constructs a ‘European identity’. The sample material consists of his three State of the Union speeches from 2015, 2016 and 2017, where Juncker reflects on events in the past year and presents the European Commission’s coming proposals. By applying methods of critical discourse analysis, together with theories on neo-functionalism, intergovernmentalism, social constructivism, ‘othering’ and identity construction, the author has attempted to identify any discursive changes in these speeches and thereafter analytically discussed reasons for these changes.

The results show that Juncker shifts from taking a neo-functionalist approach to European integration in the State of the Union speech from 2015, to an intergovernmental approach in the speeches from 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, the appeal to common values as a means of constructing a ‘European identity’ is more prominent in the two later speeches. This thesis argues that these differences are results of major European events, or “crises”, such as the refugee crisis and the Brexit referendum.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Social Sciences


  • EU
  • Juncker
  • discourse
  • legitimisation
  • identity
  • Europastudier
  • State of the Union speeches


  • Mattias Nowak