IV Congreso Internacional
Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 15-19 de diciembre de 2010
Mesa E. El estancamiento de Europa
Cristina Blanco S�o-L�pez (Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l'Europe, Luxembourg)
EU Enlargement Fatigue and the Stagnation of Europe European Integration Discourses, Political Strategies and the Use and Abuse of a Frontier
In the post-Cold War context, Europe is portrayed as a continent without borders, a geographical space where territory, membership and identity are sites of contestation and renegotiation. Thus, the formulation of the Eastward Enlargement of the EU in the early 1990s appears as a fundamental challenge in the definition of Europeanness and as a chance to definitely overcome the East-West divide.
Going beyond territorial and geographical borders, we find a not less important theoretical delimitation of what Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) are or might be, that is, identity borders, which are deeply associated to a supposed mental and cultural gap between the twosides of the continent. The debate between the two possible Europes is based on the dialectic between two discourses
-The Pan-European one that emphasises the Europeanness of the CEECs and analyses the ideas of "Returning to Europe" and a revival of the study of historical memory in these countries
-The discourse on the Otherness of Central and Eastern Europe, which refers to theirrelegated role through history, to a positive delimitation of distinctive virtues and to their insolvable differences with Western Europe.
Such debate has growingly affected the application of the idea of a European Citizenship to the complexities of an enlarged EU. Accordingly, the CEECs have been accused by EU members of holding an ethnically exclusive idea of citizenship, of discouraging an enlarged civil space and of not realizing the potential of participative citizenship and democracy. On the other hand, the EU has been criticised by the CEECs of promoting the so-called "Fortress Europe"model, which would configure the profile of a staggered citizenship that goes from the total guaranty of rights for the citizens of the EU, to the elimination of the discursive capability of the successive "Others" through EC Law.
Thus, the formulation of the Eastward Enlargement of the EU in the early 1990s appears as a fundamental challenger in the definition of Europeanness and a chance to definitely overcome the East-West divide. European citizenship could have been a catalyser for a balance. However, the analysis of this topic has so far been a major battlefield for the discourse on the Europeanness-Otherness debate. European citizenship is also a boundary-making device and serves therefore to the purpose of structuring the internal and external identity borders with regard to the CEECs, thus reinforcing the so-called �enlargement fatigue� phenomenon. Nevertheless, identity might change when territorial boundaries change and this makes imperative to study how the notion of an inclusive European citizenship could have transformed the EU into a new defining community, becoming thus a solution for these bitterly stagnating identity borders