Euroscepticism Amongst Youth in Serbia and Croatia As An Extreme Form of Strategic Coalition

    • Astrea Pejović and Jovana Papović 1
    • Presentation speakers
      • Astrea Pejović and Jovana Papović, Faculty of Politics, University of Belgrade, Serbia
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    After the disintegration of the Socialist Federative Republic Of Yugoslavia, newly formed nation-states constructed their nationalistic ideologies in reflection to the Western World. While Serbian national identity was formed in an opposition to the western discourse, Croatia based its nationalism on the continuity within its independent presence in Europe. Today, twenty years after the separation, both countries went through transitional processes, mostly generating its legitimacy through EU integration. Nevertheless, at the moment when both Serbia and Croatia are almost inside the EU, researches show that the majority of young people believe that joining the European Union would only worsen the economic situation in their country (44% in Croatia and 48% in Serbia). Post-socialist reforms were (politically) mainly justified by the consensus around the European future while the EU institutions were the major forces that have legitimized these reforms. Although generally very optimistic towards EU integration, Euroscepticism emerged in both Serbia and Croatia especially inside youth groups. The main reason for this sceptical feeling is in majority produced by both the prolongation of the transitional situation and the European paternalistic relation to the Balkans. On one hand, right-wing nationalists apprehend the re-birth of Yugoslav multiculturalism that could potentially abolish national feeling, while, on the other hand, anti-liberal leftists deny processes of European integration calling the negative effects of liberal capitalism in their argumentation. To illustrate these mechanisms, we can take the examples of the anti-NATO demonstrations in Belgrade in 2011, the “Facebook demonstrations” that took place in Zagreb at the same year or the recurrent student protests against liberalization of the university system in all ex-Yugoslavian countries. Both anti-liberal and nationalistic scepticism are united in a strategic coalition. This paper rethinks the politics of difference as an activist strategy and examines the forms of Euroscepticism currently existing in the ex-Yugoslavian countries amongst youth.