Why do we need European integration in increasingly fragmented and antagonised European societies?
How can European integration relate to the national stories we carry about who we are as a nation and where we belong?
What to do with the national stories that tell traumatising tales of past loss and sacrifice, and depict others as villains or foes?
Can we still claim that our national states are the most legitimate way of organising European political communities today?
Engaging with these big questions of European politics, Nevena Nancheva tells a small story from the periphery of Europe. Looking at two post-communist Balkan states ‒ Bulgaria and Macedonia ‒ she explores how their narratives of national identity have changed in the context of Europeanisation and EU membership preparations.
In doing so, Nancheva suggests that national identity and European integration might be more relevant than previously thought.
‘Nevena Nancheva’s beautifully written yet accessible book skilfully analyses the discursive power of national identity in the political project of European integration in Bulgaria and Macedonia. By highlighting the ways in which specific discourses condition and constrain political positions and policy options in the two states, Nancheva’s insights make an important contribution to the literature on the discursive construction of national identity, the influence of identity discourses on domestic and inter-state politics and the influence of Europeanisation in two under-researched
South-East European states.’
Richard Mole, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
‘Joining the EU has long been seen as a crucial tool for improving interstate relations, guaranteeing stable interethnic relations, and resolving antagonistic claims over identity, territory, and polity by peoples involved in the integration process. Along these lines, Nancheva’s book outlines how Bulgaria and Macedonia, the two countries on the Southeastern flank of the EU, have negotiated their contesting nationalist claims before the accession. Between Nationalism and Europeanisation paves the way for further studies of post‑enlargement dynamics in interstate and interethnic relations across the external EU border that fortify the claims over national sovereignty as well as deeper European integration.’
Timofey Agarin, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast