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Balkan politicians, mostly immune to the influence of EU integration

[journal article]

Mitropolitski, Simeon

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Abstract Are the post-communist politicians changing their political ideologies as a result of European Union (EU) integration? Are they more likely to accept democratic norms and procedures as their countries are moving toward EU membership? The existing literature provides mutually excluding answers. This paper aims to settle down this dispute by bringing up ideological evolution of some key political decision makers in two post-communist countries, Bulgaria and Macedonia. These cases represent countries on different stages of EU integration. Findings were triangulated through in-depth interviews with citizens in both countries that took place between 2009 and 2011. These findings suggest that most politicians are relatively immune to the influence of EU integration in the sense of identity change. Some of them may move even more toward nationally based identity, looking at the EU only as a tool for serving their national political agenda. However, there are politicians who have also developed a new complex European identity allowing them to look at the political world differently, not only accepting democratic norms, but also acting simultaneously on different levels, national and supranational.
Keywords European integration; democratization; Southeastern Europe; politician; post-communist society; Bulgaria; Macedonia; identity
Classification European Politics; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 497-514
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 14 (2014) 4
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works