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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 3 / 2015 (604), Autumn

The European Union brand and its appeal to young Europeans – an in-depth perspective from Romanian student

Alina-Daniela MIHALCEA
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Alexandra VIȚELAR
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania

Abstract. In the context of globalization and economic crisis, the European Union is facing a series of challenges on a political, economic and identity level, due to the fact that the pillars on which the EU stands no longer satisfy the demands and necessities of the European citizens (Dobrescu and Palada, 2012; Habermas, 2012). As a result, “the foundational myth of the European Union as a vehicle for peace, stability and economic growth is apparently losing its appeal, particularly among younger generations of Europeans” (Kaina and Karolewski, 2009, p. 35). The youth represents an important resource for the European Union and at the same time a major concern, taking into consideration the political and economic trends that have determined them to experience “a general crisis of trust and values” (Future Lab Europe, 2013, p. 7).

Therefore, this paper aims to identify the way in which European identity is defined in the case of Romanian students. Our main concern is to understand what is determining them to act and feel as members of the European community and, essentially, to identify or not with the EU brand. In this regard, we used a qualitative approach to explore whether the attachment to the European Union is grounded on emotional or utilitarian bonds by taking into consideration the following aspects: attitudes towards the European Union, values, identity markers of the EU brand. Results of the study indicate that at this point, the EU brand has a major scarcity of substance and relevance for Romanian students.

Keywords: branding, European identity, Europeanization, European citizenship.

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