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Title: European identity and the Eastern borderlands of the European Union
Author: Gebhardt, Barbara
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis proposes that a genuine European identity may emerge in the eastern borderlands of the European Union. This perspective is based on two lines of thought: first, with the increasing challenges the European Union is currently facing, such as demands for regionalisation and EU enlargement towards the East, the progressive development of the European integration process can no longer rely on its citizens' permissive consensus, but is in need of a genuine 'European identity'; second, clues to a genuine European identity may be found in the Eastern borderlands of the European Union, because it is here - since the fall of the Iron Curtain - where it has become most evident that the term 'European' can no longer be viewed as interchangeable with Western Europe or the European Union (thus also excluding the Western European non-EU countries) and where the crude East-West division may now be replaced by a West/Central/East division. These two dimensions have created confusion about the exact meaning of Europe and the future of the European Union. The changing political geography seems to have left Europe and especially the European Union with a sense of disorientation. The effect has been the appearance of some pressing questions about Europe's core of identity, its geographical limits and the concept of Mitteleuropa. Within the European Union, the 'Europe 1992' project saw the gradual disappearance of internal frontiers. Together with Schengen, this has enhanced the EU's four freedoms and promoted the idea of the EU as an area open within itself. Free trade, interdependence, communication and transport have contributed to the decreasing importance of internal frontiers and have, in theory, brought the European peoples closer together. But the existence of a European identity still remains questionable. This is also triggered by the fact that the widening versus deepening debate has increasing challenged the European Union's problem of governance. It suggests that the overall European Union's attempts to create a European identity -as, for example, through the concept of European citizenship - have so far only been of symbolic importance and have not yet had the desired impact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available