Based on a three-wave, six-country comparative panel study experiment with 1,197 participants, this article shows how in the long term, political institutions and the media can affect the European identity of citizens. It shows not only that exposure to good or bad news on Europe and to symbols of the European Union has an effect on European identity but also that news works as a powerful time bomb. It suggests that whereas increasingly cynical European citizens first resist perceived attempts of political manipulation, the effect of news ultimately kicks in and so influences citizens’ European identity with remarkable efficiency in the long term. The 2.5-year study demonstrates this time bomb effect of news, as well as an immediate but growing effect of political symbols on citizens’ identity
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