This article aims at shedding light on how civic engagement matters for the emergence of a European public sphere. It investigates the citizen's role in constituting it and asks how citizens, being located in different cultural and political contexts, participate in and appropriate EU political communication. First, the article develops a pragmatic approach to the European public sphere emphasizing the importance of citizens' communicative participation and, moreover, considers the transnational and transcultural character of European political communication. It is assumed that the constitution of public spheres – representing social constructions fulfilling democratic functions – ultimately relies on the citizen audience's (media based) perception of the impact of common problems and the EU's political decisions as well as on their subsequent participation in public discourses. The second part of the article presents the findings of empirical case studies conducted in France, Italy and Germany to explore citizens' engagement in and appropriation of the European constitutional debate.
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