The European Identity And The Persistence Of The East/West Slope

    • emanuel
    • Presentation speakers
      • Emanuel Crudu, IMT Advanced Studies Institute

    The Eastern Enlargement took place within a framework of deeply asymmetric relations between the EU and the candidate countries (Moravcsik and Vachudova 2003). A robust theory of enlargement explains the interests driven determination of Central and Eastern European countries to join while they entrapped through strategic action the Western European side of the EU in its rhetoric of commitment to norms and values as inescapable arguments to enlarge (Schimmelfennig 2003; Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2005). This approach preserves a different type of asymmetry while treating candidate countries as identitarian tabula rasa lacking any logic of appropriateness in their pursuit of joining the EU. Yet when any identitarian construct was to be invoked, most often the reference was rerouted to the Cold War attributes of the region as laggard, uncivilized, byzantine or ottoman in its preferences and behaviours. This is to name applicant states in their profile as Europe’s constitutive others. A wide variety of scholars addressed the EU’s narratives of making the Eastern European other as an outcome of cultural politics of enlightenment (Wolff 1994), as an effect of EU’s need to delineate its borders (Neumann 1996, 1999), as an outcome of its views on security (Buzan and Waever 2003; Levy et al. 2005; Kuus 2007; ) or as a type of ‘orientalism’ or post-colonialism (Melegh 2006; Kovacevic 2008; Todorova 2009). Yet most of these types of approaches were forgotten in analyzing the persistence of a East-West slope after the enlargement effectively took place. The region is understood now under a process of convergence, socialization and Europeanization that will have as outcome an ‘ever closer union’ where the East and the West will fade away as categories. Yet the reality is far from such an outcome while the persistence of categories of alterity making towards the new members is not dismantled. The discourse on core-periphery, new Europe/old Europe is rather gaining increasing ground in the arena of European identity narratives voiced by the EU. This paper aims rather to make a case than to provide definitive proofs for the practices of alterity making that take place inside the EU after the enlargement. It proposes an unfolding view of the EU as a sort of post-modern neo-medieval empire (Zielonka 2006) in which narratives of othering towards Central and Eastern Europe preserve their salience. The core periphery nexus within the EUropean identity making is looked upon as an internal process of alterity making that takes the shape of neo-medieval concentric circles hierarchizations (Tunander 1997; Waever 1997). The paper advances the EU’s internal processes of alterity making as a puzzle and looks at the persistence of the East-West dichotomies inside the EU on three narrative scales of othering: time, space and axiology.