In the past ten years, Europeanists paid an increasing amount of attention to the concept of “Europeanization.” When the definition of “Europeanization” expands as more and more scholars build their research around the concept, the usefulness of the concept was cast in doubt. This article uses the study of elite-citizen gap in the EU as an example to shed light on the usefulness of the Europeanization concept in furthering our understanding of European integration. It examines the impact of Europeanization on different levels of actors. It argues that existing studies of Europeanization focus exclusively on actors at the top or middle levels of the political entity—a phenomenon that may very well reflect the situation in reality. In contrast, few studies deal with the Europeanization of citizens— again, a phenomenon that corresponds to the notion of the EU’s democratic deficit problem. It argues that the increasing discrepancy between Europeanization of elites and citizens is both a sign and the cause for the persisting democratic deficit problem.
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