Politicizing Europe: Normative Conditionality in the EU Institutions’ Interpretations of Europe(-anness)

  • Abstract:

    “Europe” and “Europeanness” have always been key notions in the construction process of the European Union (EU). Indeed, Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union enshrines as primary condition that a State must be “European” to be eligible for EU membership. However, there is neither a consensual nor an official definition of this term which can take on various meanings, broadly ranging from geographical to cultural ones. This polysemy has driven the EU institutions to provide their own interpretations, especially within the framework of enlargements and membership applications. Building on an analysis of institutional documents, the paper investigates how the notions of “Europe” and “Europeanness” have been interpreted since the inception of the EU and, in fine, politicized through the implementation of normative conditions. This analysis eventually led to a new, up-to-date model of the conditions that a State has to meet to be considered “European”, which further highlights the institutional conceptualization of Europe(-anness).