This research aimed to understand what frames are used by Dutch citizens when expressing Eurosceptic attitudes in online discussions. Previous research on public opinion mainly analysed the levels of Euroscepticism among citizens. This research instead focuses on the frames used in online discussions by ordinary people to better understand the reasons and arguments behind opposition to the EU. By analysing the comment sections of four Dutch newspapers – Algemeen Dagblad, De Volkskrant, De Telegraaf and De Dagelijkse Standaard – using a qualitative content analysis the most frequently used frames for expressing Eurosceptic opinions in online discussions on EU-topics are defined. A total of 732 comments were studied, covering a variety of EU-topics in the area of politics, culture and economics. The main frames were the Anti-elite and Power threat frame, followed by the Responsibility, Economic threat, Injustice and Cultural threat frame. Contrary to expectations, the Cultural threat frame was the least frequently used and more aimed at protecting individual cultures from one overarching EU culture, than it was aimed at the threat formed by other cultures. The Anti-elite frame was the most frequently used frame illustrating a strong distrust among citizens towards politicians, who are seen as prioritizing their own interests above those of the nation. Overall, this research shows the importance of transparency of decisions by the EU towards citizens and the role of trust between politicians and citizens.

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Cecil Meeusen, Jeroen van der Waal
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Post, S. (2020, June 21). Euroscepticism in Online Discussions: The Framing of Opposition to the EU by Dutch Citizens on Facebook.. Sociology. Retrieved from