Divided Nations and European Integration


For ethnic minorities in Europe separated by state borders—such as Basques in France and Spain or Hungarians who reside in Slovakia and Romania—the European Union has offered the hope of reconnection or at least of rendering the divisions less obstructive. Conationals on different sides of European borders may look forward to increased political engagement, including new norms to support the sharing of sovereignty, enhanced international cooperation, more porous borders, and invigorated protections for minority ...

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For ethnic minorities in Europe separated by state borders—such as Basques in France and Spain or Hungarians who reside in Slovakia and Romania—the European Union has offered the hope of reconnection or at least of rendering the divisions less obstructive. Conationals on different sides of European borders may look forward to increased political engagement, including new norms to support the sharing of sovereignty, enhanced international cooperation, more porous borders, and invigorated protections for minority rights. Under the pan-European umbrella, it has been claimed that those belonging to divided nations would no longer have to depend solely on the goodwill of the governments of their states to have their collective rights respected. Yet for many divided nations, the promise of the European Union and other pan-European institutions remains unfulfilled.

Divided Nations and European Integration examines the impact of the expansion of European institutions and the ways the EU acts as a confederal association of member states, rather than a fully multinational federation of peoples. A wide range of detailed case studies consider national communities long within the borders of the European Union, such as the Irish and Basques; communities that have more recently joined, such as the Croats and Hungarians; and communities that are not yet members but are on its borders or in its "near abroad," such as the Albanians, Serbs, and Kurds. This authoritative volume provides cautionary but valuable insights to students of European institutions, nations and nationalism, regional integration, conflict resolution, and minority rights.

Contributors: Tozun Bahcheli, Zoe Bray, Alexandra Channer, Zsuzsa Csergő, Marsaili Fraser, James M. Goldgeier, Michael Keating, Tristan James Mabry, John McGarry, Margaret Moore, Sid Noel, Brendan O'Leary, David Romano, Etain Tannam, Stefan Wolff.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume is persuasive, articulate, and coherent, and is a great read for anyone who is interested in understanding identity dynamics, histories, and narratives of the cases examined. It can also be used as a textbook at the undergraduate or graduate level."—Human Rights Quarterly

"Divided Nations and European Integration provides not only a sober account of the limited impact European integration has had on kin state policies across, and minority protection inside, international borders, it also offers an elegant explanation for variations that do not fit the stereotypical East-West divide. A must-read book for scholars in comparative nationalism studies, European integration studies, and international relations."—Rainer Bauböck, European University Institute

"An excellent, up-to-date, normative, and empirical approach to the rights of national minorities in divided European nations. This subject is linked to the improvement of political liberty and political stability of contemporary democracies and has not received the attention it deserves by scholars until recent years. This volume is certain to become a major academic reference work for any reader interested in democracy, nationalism, and European affairs."—Ferran Requejo, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

"These renowned authors, under the able leadership of Mabry, McGarry, Moore, and O'Leary, innovate by bringing the areas of security studies and global justice to bear on the study of nations divided by state frontiers. In sharp contrast with the dominant literature in comparative politics and international relations, the contributors take seriously moral and political claims made by these communities. The volume advances a highly original approach to the question of how divided nations have been affected by European integration."—Alain-G. Gagnon, Université du Québec à Montréal

"An innovative and important collection. Divided Nations and European Integration offers a substantial contribution to nationalism studies and European studies."—Stephen Tierney, University of Edinburgh

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Tristan James Mabry is Assistant Research Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. John McGarry is Professor of Political Studies and Canada Research Chair in Nationalism and Democracy at Queen's University. He has coauthored and coedited several books with Brendan O'Leary, including The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Margaret Moore is Sir Edward Peacock Professor in Political Theory at Queen's University and author of The Ethics of Nationalism and Foundations of Liberalism. Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast.

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John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary

The subject of this book is the development of nations and national homelands divided by sovereign borders within and around the current and prospective frontier of the European Union (EU). No one should assume any inexorable march of the EU, though the short-run and longer-run incorporations of Iceland and Norway respectively are not difficult to foresee. We have avoided the EU's North African hinterland because we see little likelihood that anywhere from Western Sahara to Egypt will join the EU in the next decades, but we include Balkan spaces and Eurasian borderlands to which the EU might expand in this horizon. It is well known that the final limits of the eastern border of the European Union may lie in the Ukraine, rather than Vladivostok. What is less well known is that upon the accession of Turkey the EU's maximum feasible stretch of its southeastern border would extend into Kurdistan, a national homeland that is not now a state, though where it will eventually reach within Kurdistan is another matter, most likely not into the "Kordestan" province of Iran. The accession of Cyprus, with its special difficulties that are discussed here, may yet mark the EU's final southeastern push in former Ottoman lands (see also Anderson 2008b).

Contemporary economic events and crises remind us all that the European Union is capable of institutional collapse, either through the ill-digested expansion of unready member states or through poor political management in and between existing member states. No one doubts that a broken euro will threaten a broken as well as a broke EU. The continuing pattern of extensive federalization and delegation of functions without more democratization at either the member state or the EU level is storing potential crises. The EU's current difficulties were triggered by the conjunction of a major global financial and economic recession emanating from the centers of Anglophone capitalism with the teething difficulties of a premature and insufficiently planned monetary union, established without credible EU-wide fiscal powers, internal homogeneity of labor markets, or a credible debt management regime (see Krugman 1992). These crises are currently fully absorbing the major powers of continental Europe, not just the anxious smaller states, now rebranded as "peripheral." There is speculation that Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and perhaps Spain will default on their public debts and leave the euro. Simultaneously continuing divisions over past and future definitions of external interests still threaten to render the EU's new foreign and security institutions and policies either irrelevant or nugatory in their traces. Rather than hollowing out the nation-state, the European Union's expansions since 1992 may yet serve to hollow out its own potential capacities as a polity. All of that, however, is in the realm of the known unknowns.

Whether the European Union expands, contracts, or stays the same, either in territory or in functions, the divided nations within and across its limits will remain of enduring importance. Our topic is the divided nations in and around the EU as it has expanded thus far, for example Hungarians in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia; and the Irish in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. We are also interested in those who may yet come into the EU, for example the Serbs in Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Hercegovina (BiH), and other nations in similar geopolitical and geographic situations, such as the Kurds who would be profoundly affected by Turkey's accession to membership. These divided nations live amid strikingly different political and demographic relations. Some are majorities in at least one state but are minorities elsewhere, as with the Hungarians, Irish, Slovaks, and Serbs. The Basques in France and Spain and the Kurds of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq, by contrast, are currently political minorities wherever they live. Few nations have recently demographically dominated more than one European state, though the Germans did when they had two states between 1948 and 1989 (and three if we disturb some recent amnesia and count Austria). The German Democratic Republic was mostly made and controlled in Moscow rather than being an expression of authentic self-determination, and its past existence helps explain why German intellectuals rarely confuse nation with state. The Albanians in Albania and Kosovo now dominate two states, though the latter was still a state-in-waiting when we went to press. International organizations constrain the recognition of Kosovo's independence; it is still recognized by no more than sixty-five of the member states of the United Nations, albeit by a majority of twenty-two of the twenty-seven member states of the European Union. Serbia stubbornly insists that Kosovo remains its Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija thirteen years after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and flight removed most Serbs from its soil and after the International Court of Justice advised that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not unlawful. Nearly all the European states that recognize Kosovo once feared the reformation of a greater Germany, but they could not block that vista. The powers of Europe are, however, all intent on blocking the formation of a greater Albania (which might encompass Albania, Kosovo, western Macedonia, and southeastern Serbia). States do not like other states, especially their neighbors, to get bigger, especially in the name of national unification, even if that unification is democratically endorsed. They also do not like small states unifying (or reunifying) under the banner of national integration, and that is because many states are not the nation-states they claim to be: divided nations often straddle their borders.

All the nations examined by the contributors, regardless of their current political and demographic status, experienced the enforced partition of their homelands, usually in the aftermath of wars or the collapse of empires. This is the division of nations to which we refer. In this book all the authors define divided nations as German people do, and that may be fitting as the Germans are the largest nation in Europe, if the claims of Turks and Russians to that title are rejected. When an American speaks of a divided nation, she means what a German calls a divided state. The American usage covers all internal divisions, antagonisms, or cleavages within a polity. In German usage, a nation may seek or possess a state, and a state may encompass one nation or many. We follow German usage here; so for us, divided nations are nations separated by states.

The concept of "a divided nation" makes ontological assumptions that some question too much (see Brubaker 1996c, 2006). Nations may be "social constructions," in the jargon of our peers, but they are no less real than language communities, social classes, or religious collectivities. We do not take the ontology of nationalists for granted, but we do assume the realities of nations and their consequences—that they are human constructions provides no special intellectual illumination or helpful moral guidance. Moreover no sane person has ever presumed that nations are utterly homogeneous: they always contain variation in culture, language, and degree of identification. A currently existing nation does, however, presuppose a recognizable politically mobilized people, who have a named collective identity. A divided nation for us is therefore one that contains leaders and organizations that minimally aspire to establish or reestablish closer linkages between the segments of their nation partitioned among states. These aspirations may include irredentism, that is, the redrawing of borders to make state and nation congruent with the consent of the relevant conationals. But they may encompass a range of less dramatic objectives, such as the establishment of cooperative linkages across borders, support for their kin in other jurisdictions, or simply ensuring freedom of movement of persons or organizations across the "national territory."

There are several such divided national communities in European space. Divided nations are usually derived from, but are not necessarily coterminous with, divided ethnic communities. An ethnic community comprises members who share the belief that they are descended from similar people—in phenotypes, in actual ancestries, in ways of being, language, and customs, including religious customs. Ethnic communities have frequently been subjected to rival nation-building projects. Not all of those regarded as belonging to a divided nation because of their ethnicity, according to what are regarded as objective traits or historical associations, accept such claims. Some may identify with the divided nation, while others may possess, or come to possess, "partitioned identities," in which they partly identify with the state in which they live, even if it is dominated by a different ethnic group (that is, they may adhere to a form of civic patriotism). Others may have nested national identities, that is, they believe they belong, rightly, to a nation within a nation; and yet others may not have any national identities. Thus some Russian speakers in Latvia identify with the state of Latvia, while others look to Mother Russia. Some Hungarians in Hungary identify with Hungary as it is now territorially defined in law, while others identify Hungary as the place and people divided by the 1920 Treaty of Trianon.

A divided nation may not insist on ethnic closure and indeed may reject it; such a nation may insist it is open to those who accept its minimal cultural terms of membership, including immigrants from afar. Moreover, if the relevant nation has at least one regional or state-based territorial jurisdiction which it dominates, it may be able to prove its inclusionary words through deeds. A state dominated by an insecure nation, by contrast, may constantly seek to assimilate and integrate all those who might cast their eyes longingly at the conationals with whom they empathize beyond the border. They may sometimes succeed. The sustainers of divided nations have to work to maintain a sense of nationhood after territorial division occurs. Whether they succeed is uncertain. Histories of competitive nation-building projects, and their successes and failures, are explored throughout this volume.

One motivation behind this book, and of the conference that preceded it, was our contributors' collective recognition that academic research usually ignores divided nations. That is partly because research tends to fall within the funding jurisdictions of sovereign boundaries. Where research does take place, however, it often assumes, without much argument, that the aspirations of divided nations are problematic, that is, destabilizing and subversive.

Much of the extant literature on the management of diversity and on international relations is dominated by the Westphalian tradition that sees the world both positively and normatively as composed of states. In this worldview the relevant political communities are internal to states. Integrationists, for example, typically see the state as a "nation-state,", either an accomplished one or one that is being built to supersede a more diverse past (see Haas 1997, 1968; see also Guéhenno 2000 [1995]). For them, nations should be congruent with states and should not exist beyond the states' territories or as regions or communities within them. More surprisingly accommodationists, that is, those prepared to accept that states may have more than one ethnic or national community and that each of these should be politically accommodated, usually restrict their analysis to accommodation within the state, although many of the minorities that accommodationists seek to protect are part of larger national communities that exist across state borders (see McGarry, O'Leary, and Simeon 2008; and O'Leary and McGarry 2012). Insofar as either integrationists or accommodationists consider divided nations, it is usually accurate to point out that their claims jeopardize internal integration or accommodation. Scholars from international relations who are concerned with relations between states are more likely than integrationists or accommodationists to notice the claims of divided nations but generally treat them as political problems that need to be addressed through full respect for traditional state sovereignty and recognition of the territorial integrity of existing states. Even scholars who reject realist international relations, who notice communities that transcend or straddle the state, such as those cosmopolitans who are concerned with global justice, tend to ignore the claims of "divided nations."

This volume challenges the prevalent perspective that national diversity can be wholly managed within the traditional (Westphalian) state system. The contributors examine the potential of the European "postnational" project, as it has been called, to manage the claims of divided nations in peaceful ways that fall short of the alteration of state boundaries (see Habermas 2000; also see critical discussions in Breen and O'Neill 2010). Whereas the international relations and global justice literatures ignore the possibility that divided nations have important normative claims, the European Union has been seen by some as having the potential to address the aspirations of divided nations through the promotion of new norms of sovereignty sharing, interstate cooperation, softer state borders, application of the subsidiarity principle, and the emergence of a European regime of minority rights protection (see Kearney 2003). The contributors were asked to evaluate such claims.

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Table of Contents


Introduction. John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary

Chapter 1. Divided Nations and Challenges to Statist and Global Theories of Justice
Margaret Moore

Chapter 2. Forked Tongues: The Language Politics of Divided Nations
Tristan James Mabry

Chapter 3. Kin-State Activism in Hungary, Romania, and Russia: The Politics of Ethnic Demography
Zsuzsa Csergő and James M. Goldgeier

Chapter 4. European Integration and the Basque Country in France and Spain
Zoe Bray and Michael Keating

Chapter 5. Albanians Divided by Borders: Loyal to State or Nation
Alexandra Channer

Chapter 6. The Kurds and EU Enlargement: In Search of Restraints on State Power
David Romano

Chapter 7. European Integration and Postwar Political Relations between Croatia and the Bosnian Croats and Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs
Marsaili Fraser

Chapter 8. The Divided Irish
Etain Tannam

Chapter 9. Germany and German Minorities in Europe
Stefan Wolff

Chapter 10. Ties That No Longer Bind: Greece, Turkey, and the Fading Allure of Ethnic Kinship in Cyprus
Tozun Bahcheli and Sid Noel

Conclusion: The Exaggerated Impact of European Integration on the Politics of Divided Nations
John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary

List of Contributors



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