More or Less Europe? The European Leaders’ Discourses on the Refugees Crisis

  • Loredana Radu National University of Political Studies and Public Administration


The refugees’ crisis has set the public agenda on European topics throughout 2015. Considered by many as (another) existential test for the European project, this new type of crisis has triggered frustrations and extreme disappointment, leading to a further aggravation of the already existing intra-EU cleavages, such as those between the West and the East, the “net debtors” (now labeled as the net supporters of the refugees) and the “net creditors” (now intensely recognized as adversaries of migration). Noteworthy, Angela Merkel declared that the refugees’ crisis is “testing Europe’s mettle” (2015), whereas Jean-Claude Juncker posed that a “blame-game” is shattering the EU, with Member States accusing “each other of not doing enough or of doing the wrong thing” (2015). This paper argues that the European leaders have tacitly fueled – through their emotional and solidarity-centered discourse – the intra-EU cleavages between the Member-States, as well as public attachment to far-right xenophobic ideologies. By means of a combined narratives’ and frames’ analysis, this paper focuses on the discursive means employed by the European leaders in order to tackle the sensitive topic of the migration crisis. Firstly, some background information about the causes and developments of the migration crisis is presented. Secondly, frames and narratives are approached as two different yet complementary instances of discourse analysis. Lastly, two key discourses given by Angela Merkel and Jean- Claude Juncker are investigated with the purpose of identifying how frames and narratives combine to tell the story of European integration under the pressure of the refugees’ flows.

How to Cite
Radu, L. (2016). More or Less Europe? The European Leaders’ Discourses on the Refugees Crisis. Romanian Journal Of Communication And Public Relations, 18(2), 21-37. doi:10.21018/rjcpr.2016.2.207


refugee crisis; discourse; narratives; frames