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Ideas and Identities

A Festschrift for Andre Liebich

Edited By Jaci Eisenberg and Davide Rodogno

This volume gathers contributions at the intersection of history and politics. The essays, covering such topics as diverse as Italian identity in the Tientsin concession, international refugee policies in the interwar period and after, and the myths and realities of the Ukrainian-Russian encounter in independent Ukraine, show that history provides better grounding as well as a more suitable paradigm for the study of politics than economics or other hard sciences. All of the contributors have a common link – doctoral work supervised and shaped by Professor Andre Liebich – but have since expanded widely in the world. Hence, the authors of this work at once share a common base and yet benefit from diverse viewpoints.
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Europeanization of the Western Balkans: New Regional Perspectives: Lana Srzic

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Europeanization of the Western Balkans: New Regional Perspectives

LANA SRZIC

Introduction

Following the decade of conflicts of the 1990s, the key unifying narrative in the Western Balkans became the discourse of “Europeanization.” Implying convergence with European standards through adaptation to (West) European norms and practices, this discourse has become the current variant of modernization, while its appropriation of the norms of “Europeanness” gave the European Union a powerful policy instrument. However, since 2008 and the economic crisis in the European Union (EU), which equally affected the Western Balkans, this dominant discourse has been undermined, as scepticism and inertia rather than progress towards European integration, became prevalent in the region, challenging the success and credibility of the European ideal.

Despite the EU crisis, the accession process of the region has been moving forward, with Croatia joining the EU in July 2013, Montenegro opening the accession talks in June 2012 with hopes to join within a decade, and Serbia recently obtaining candidate status. However, while the individual states are at significantly different stages in the accession process, the Western Balkans share some common themes of growing scepticism towards accession. The EU Balkan states, such as Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria provide a negative example of superficial and insufficient Europeanization, challenging the credibility of the EU model and its implementation in member states, while problems within the EU allow for less attention towards its periphery and the enlargement process in the Western Balkans.

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