Dutch newspapers and the debate of relations with Ukraine; The role of Frames and Perspectives in Dutch newspapers around the perception and public opinion towards Ukraine in the Netherlands

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This thesis examined the role of framing and perspectives around public debates and opinions. The case analysed is the relations between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine from a Dutch perspective over two time frames. The first analysed event was between 2016-2017 regarding ratifying the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, after a referendum was held in the Netherlands in 2016. The second analysed event was in 2022, about providing Ukraine the status of candidate EU member after Russia invaded Ukraine. The Netherlands was selected as a case, since they were the only EU member that did not ratify the agreement in 2014 but delayed it until 2017. In contrast, the Netherlands agreed with candidate membership in 2022 within four months. This study, thus, looked into Dutch newspapers to investigate the role of frames and perspectives of this change of Dutch perception towards Ukraine. The quantitative results of this study showed that, during both events, the same frames and perspectives were dominant. Since this study conducted a mixed-method approach, the frames and perspectives were also qualitatively investigated. These results showed that the meaning of those frames and perspectives changed: the narrative concerning to Ukraine shifted from a trade partner ‘far away’ with little connection to the EU during the Association Agreement, towards a ‘family member’ of the EU that fought for liberal democracies after the Russian invasion. Although the dominant frames and perspective suggested attributions of responsibilities for solutions lied by levels of government since the frames and perspectives trigger little social mobilisation.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen