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The Postmodernity of the European Union: A Discourse Analysis of State of the Union Addresses


While the debate about further integration is ongoing, the European Union (EU) already shows signs of functioning like a state. The dynamics of the European integration process are defined by the duality of inter-governmentalism and supranationalism. This contradiction encouraged the development of the EU as a new hybrid political organisation. A software-assisted discourse analysis of the European State of the Union Addresses highlights that Presidents of the EU Commission have indeed conceptualised the Union both as a state-like entity and an intergovernmental institution because of its unique process of evolution, as evidenced by parallelism with the US event, the co-occurrence of conventional metaphors of statehood and EU-related metaphors as well as the merging of the concepts of “Europe” and “European Union” in the Addresses. Overall, the Addresses have contributed to creating a context of statehood for the EU on the one hand, and to reinforcing the position of the Presidents of the European Commission of the EU Parliament as leaders of the EU on the other.
Keywords: State of the Union Address; European integration; statehood; European identity; political discourse analysis