Working paper

Talking about Europe: exploring 70 years of news archives

This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of Europe as reflected in European media.

Publishing date
02 March 2021

The authors thank Catarina Midões for her fundamental inputs and suggestions. The authors would like to thank Amandine Crespy, Francois Foret, Michael Leigh, N. Piers Ludlow, Francesco Papadia, Niclas Poitiers, Giuseppe Porcaro, Stefanie Pukallus, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff

for their valuable comments and input. We thank Kurt Jansson and Ulla Siegenthaler at Der Spiegel for their kind and helpful collaboration. Furthermore, we thank Estelle Bunout, Marten During and Frédéric Clavert for their helpful comments, and for inviting us to present an early version of this work at the C2DH workshop, as well as the workshop’s participants.

This paper quantitatively explores news coverage on the subject of ‘Europe’ in three different countries and three newspapers: France (Le Monde), Italy (La Stampa) and Germany (Der Spiegel). We collected and organised large web-scraped datasets covering the period 1945 to 2019. After ensuring the quality of the archives, we identified articles referring to ‘European’ news while leaving aside national and other non-European news, based on a mix of keyword matching, large-scale natural language processing and topic identification on the full text of news articles. Once articles were classified and datasets labelled, we performed a time-series analysis, detecting salient events in European history, across France, Germany and Italy. We analysed these events in light of the evolution of European cooperation and integration since 1945. We found that the most important events in post-war European history are easily identifiable in the archives and that European issues have gathered substantially greater attention since the early 1990s.

Recommended citation:

Bergamini, E. and E. Mourlon-Druol (2021) ‘Talking about Europe: exploring 70 years of news archives’, Working Paper 04/2021, Bruegel


About the authors

  • Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol

    Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol was a Visiting fellow at Bruegel in 2015 and he is now a Non-resident fellow. He is Professor of History of European Cooperation and Integration at the European University Institute in Florence. His research focuses on European economic and monetary cooperation since 1945, sovereign debt crises and global governance. He is Principal Investigator of the project “EURECON: The Making of a Lopsided Union – Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992” funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC).

    Prior to joining the EUI, Emmanuel was Professor of International Economic History at the University of Glasgow. Emmanuel held several visiting appointments at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2015-2019), the University of Economics in Prague (2015) and the University of Tokyo (2020). He is the author of A Europe Made of Money: the Emergence of the European Monetary System (Cornell University Press, 2012) and co-editor of International Summitry and Global Governance: the Rise of the G-7 and the European Council, 1974-1991 (with Federico Romero, Routledge 2014). His work has appeared in Business History, Cold War History, Contemporary European History, Diplomacy & Statecraft, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, and West European Politics, among others. You can find more information on his personal website.

  • Enrico Bergamini

    Enrico worked at Bruegel as a research analyst.

    He is currently pursuing a PhD in Economics and Complexity at the University of Turin. He holds a BSc in Business and Economics from the University of Bologna and a MSc in Economic Policy from the University of Utrecht.

    His research interests include economics of innovation, climate change, and inequalities.

    Enrico is a native Italian speaker, is fluent in English and has a working knowledge of French.

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