RECON Online Working Paper 2008/14

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Collective Identity Formation in the Process of EU Enlargement

Defeating the Inclusive Paradigm of a European Democracy?


Zdzisław Mach and Grzegorz Pożarlik (Jagiellonian University)



In this paper it is argued that the EU eastern enlargement did not result in a significant change of predominantly ethnos-based collective identity in the new EU countries. Consequently, it is argued that the EU eastern enlargement has, by and large, been understood by citizens of the new EU countries as primarily a process of economic adjustment to the common market standards with limited impact on the political dimension of European integration, i.e. the finalité politique of the EU institutional design or, more generally, the model of future democratic order in Europe. The main conclusion that could be drawn from the analysis of the dynamics of collective identity formation in the context of the EU enlargement is that the inclusive paradigm of European democracy which constituted the identitarian foundation of the European integration process since the establishment of the European Communities turned out to be self-defeating in the context of the EU eastern enlargement at least in a short-term perspective.



European Identity – Democracy – Post-Communism – Enlargement

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