ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to examine the process of online Europeanisation of political communication, both theoretically and through empirical analysis. On one hand, the text emphasises the relationship between the public sphere and the legitimacy of the EU and examines different concepts of the public sphere on a European level. On the other hand, it touches on the significance of the World Wide Web, a relatively new medium, and its propagation to a pan-European public arena. Furthermore, the article attempts to explore the role of political actors, especially political parties, in communication about Europe. It discusses the extent to which national political parties´ arguments and political claims on their official websites contain references to shared values or common EU identity. To illustrate the theoretical framework, seven French political parties have been chosen and the online contents of their official websites explored.
KEYWORDS: European Union, legitimacy, public sphere, Europeanisation of national public spheres, political parties, France