. 2018. “
Media Coverage: UK Democratic Audit
How does the European Union integrate new values into the text of its treaties? A growingbody of literature indicates that, in the past three decades, new norms and values have entered the EU’sdiscourse, resulting in what is usually termed ‘normative power Europe’. Yet the research and knowledge to-date about the EU’s discursive assimilation of new values and norms is surprisingly poor.As any institutionalchange, such integration has the potential to undermine the coherence of the EU’s identity and thus also itsobjective to ‘speak with one voice’. This article explores the EU’s discursive management of the continuity-versus-change imperative by analysing the integration of new values into the text of its treaties. This issue isaddressed based on a quantitative content analysis on the full texts of European founding treaties betweenthe 1950s and 2009. Findings show that the distribution of the EU’s values in the text is not uniform: whilethe language of market economy and democracy is pervasive, the values of peace, European identity, rightsand social justice are mentioned less frequently and in restricted linguistic environments. To account forthe differences in the integration of values into the EU’s treaty discourse, the article develops the notionof a discursive mechanism of differentiated value integration (MDVI). This rationale echoes the logic ofdifferentiation in policy implementation employed by the EU.It is claimed here that,applied in the Europeandiscursive arena, MDVI allows radically different readings of the same text. This helps the EU to maintaina coherent value identity while at the same time enabling change.