Interview: “What Role do National History and Identity play in the EU Integration Process?”
To what extent does a member state of the European Union have to find a balance between merging with a comprehensive European identity and emphasizing its own individual history and collective memory? How is the development of a nation and its interpretation influenced by the integration process? Ana Milosevic, a PhD candidate at KU Leuven in Belgium, attempts to find answers to these questions throughout her research project “From Balkanization to Europeanization: The Politics of Memory in Croatia and Serbia, 1990-2015”. Within the framework of the Winter Academy “Beyond History and Identity: New Perspectives on Aesthetics, Politics, and Society in Eastern Europe” , she traces back the neglected aspects of the EU integration process by questioning the mechanisms of overwriting and reconstructing national history and identity not only throughout the integration process but even in anticipation of an EU-membership. Taking Croatia and Serbia as examples, Ana Milosevic suggests that questions like history and collective memory are discussed as well as the legal basis – Economic Affairs and Finance – when integrating a nation into the European Union. She also states that those are issues many countries had to face before they became part of the EU. These discussions are of particular interest since they open a space for reconciliation as well as for instrumentalisation.
The interview was conducted by Gesche Schifferdecker, press officer at the Max Weber Foundation. The conversation took place in Berlin during the Winter Academy “Beyond History and Identity: New Perspectives on Aesthetics, Politics, and Society in Eastern Europe”, organised by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung. The Winter Academy was conducted in support of the Berlin-Brandenburg Ukrainian Initiative, a new project initiated by Andrii Portnov (Forum Transregionale Studien/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) to proliferate and re-think the current debates in the field of East European Studies. The Academy was chaired by a group of scholars that includes Rory Finnin (University of Cambridge), Susanne Frank (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Ilia Gerasimov (Ab Imperio), Olena Haleta (Ivan Franko Lviv University), Anna Colin-Lebedev (Sciences Po Paris), Magdalena Marszalek (Universität Potsdam), Andrii Portnov (Forum Transregionale Studien/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin), and Annette Werberger (Europa-Universität Viadrina). Cooperation partners were the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Centre Marc Bloch, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB) and Europe in the Middle East-The Middle East in Europe (EUME).