Dynamics of regionalism in the post-Cold War era : the case of southeastern Europe
The thesis seeks to understand why in the post-Cold War era regionalism in Southeastern Europe has been largely ineffective. First, it examines the theoretical preconditions for the emergence of the phenomenon. It finds that two separate levels of analysis exist for explaining its sources, namely the international - divided between rationalist and reflectivist schools - and the domestic. Rationalist schools of thought are arranged along a continuum between those focusing on sources of regionalism external (systemic) and internal to regions. Subsequently, the research project provides a historical perspective of cooperation in Southeastern Europe. It finds that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, regional schemes did not succeed because of the fragmentory role of external factors - namely the intervention in descending order of the Great Powers, Germany and the Superpowers - as well as Balkan nationalisms. The thesis argues that in the post-Cold War era regional cooperation initiatives, such as the SEECP, the Royaumont Proces, SECI and the SPSEE, have also been ineffective due to external and domestic reasons. On the one hand, while promoting regional cooperation initiatives in Southeastern Europe, the EU has at the same time pursued differentiated integration and bilateral policies with Balkan states which further contribute to the region's heterogeneity and generate centrifugal dynamics. On the other hand, intra-national prerequisites for the emergence of regionalism are absent. These include the retarded state and nation-building process of Yugoslav successor states and entities as well as domestic economic conditions related to the delayed transition in the 1990s. The methodology of the study places the thesis within the literature of International Relations. Systemic theories and domestic political and economic reasons are used to explain the failure of regional cooperation in Southeastern Europe. The research project introduces the concept of 'stateness' - generally referred to in the democratisation literature as state and nation-building or 'third transition'- to the domestic explanations for the lack of regionalism as well as a neo-liberal aspect to the traditional state-centric external approach to regional cooperation.