Europe's pivotal peace projects: Ethnic separation and European integration (2015:6epa)


EU enlargement into Central and Eastern Europe intensifies debates mired in the past.  A forgotten source is the earlier stability strategy by Western powers:  the shift to homogeneous nation-states and ethnic unmixing. The transformation by the end of the 20th century to European integration – instead of separation – contributed to amnesia, also when ethnic cleansing reappeared in the recent Balkan conflicts.

In this paper, Lynn M. Tesser explains why the European integration may enhance fears of renewed irredentism. EU enlargement creates an opportunity for the return of former minorities – and new opportunities for nationalists to characterize their return as a prelude to revanchism. This is a highly relevant issue in the modern EU where ethnic mixing and unmixing is on the agenda in several member countries.

The publication is a part of the SIEPS project Internal and external dimensions of a common asylum and migration policy.

Lynn M. Tesser is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Command and Staff College of the Marine Corps University, Virginia, USA.