Academic research on the EU, Enlargement, Europe in the news, Euroscepticism, Future of the EU, the Netherlands

The contradictions of the Dutch referendum on the Association agreement with Ukraine

As the day of the advisory referendum in the Netherlands on the Association agreement with Ukraine nears, the bulk of the commentary seems to focus on the campaign, its trends and its context rather than the referendum question and the agreement it addresses. There have been lots of commentaries focusing on the geopolitics of the referendum, evaluating Russia’s possible attitude or role, as for example this recent piece  assessing a potential ‘no’ vote as a symbolic victory for Russia. Many analysts note the passive stance taken by the Dutch government and political parties of the government coalition who, after all, participated in the negotiations of the agreement that started all the way back in 2008. In a highly critical post, Judy Dempsey denounces the lackluster campaign by Dutch and European politicians and the lack of visible commitment to the  treaty and the values it embodies (rather than just trade) by the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte himself. In terms of the implications of the referendum results, there is little agreement on the significance of a potential ‘no’ vote. Some, consider the whole exercise to be meaningless, as given the advisory nature of the referendum, the government could ignore the results if they are negative.This post by Korteweg provides an overview of recent history of both the agreement and the Dutch referendum and of potential scenarios after the referendum.

Yet, as Kristof Jacobs pointed out in the SRV blog and also in a debate we held yesterday, the political consequences of ignoring a possible ‘no’ vote would be much wider  and harder to ignore than the legal ones. Both domestic and international consequences could be quite broad and far reaching. At least one of the government coalition parties, the Social Democrats, has committed to respecting the outcome of the referendum. Changing the wording of the Association agreement to satisfy the Dutch voters would also be quite problematic: in a total of 486 articles and 179 pages without the annexes, identifying which bits would have been found objectionable by Dutch votes in case of a ‘no’ majority would be difficult. The EU’s credibility in other international settings and policies, such as the revised European Neighborhood Policy or even ongoing enlargement process with the Western Balkans, would be compromised.

If we accept that future accessions or associations will become more and more politicized, as found in our enlargement assessment project maxcap (see here), we should try to take the question of the referendum seriously and evaluate, to the best of our current knowledge, what effects the Association agreement might have. Given its scope and the fact that establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Trade Area is quite a novel enterprise, as shown in this legal analysis, effects are difficult to estimate ex ante. The political reform provisions in the treaty, however, are both far-reaching and promising, in the clear commitment to domestic reforms in Ukraine (art 6), extensive requirements for transparency and the planned involvement of civil society (articles 299, 443). All other things being equal (which is not a given in Ukraine’s neighbourhood), the Agreement will provide both a roadmap and a set of incentives for reforms in democratic governance, as the EU has done in the past for countries like Bulgaria, Romania or Slovakia. It will be up to Ukrainian policy makers and politicians to take this opportunity. Yet rejecting the treaty by means of a negative vote in the Netherlands, or letting it exist in some kind of legal and political limbo while the Dutch government decides how to react to a potential negative result, would sap what energy and determination exist for reforms in Ukraine. So paradoxically, if we assume that at least some of the initiators of the Dutch referendum care about democracy and citizens, their democratic impulse might kill the attempts to make democracy mean something in Ukraine. This would be a strange outcome indeed.



The ‘reporting revolution’ in enlargement reports: will it help overcome ‘enlargement fatigue’?

The European Commission released its updated strategy and reports on the progress of candidate and aspiring states from the Western Balkans on 10 November 2015. The considerable changes in approach and even language of the reports amount to what the European Stability Initiative newsletter has called ‘a reporting revolution’. The strategy and reports aim to make comparisons between aspiring, candidate and negotiating states much easier and to give the process of enlargement, allegedly mired in ‘enlargement fatigue’, a new impetus.

First impressions are that the reports, one of the key monitoring and reform tools of enlargement policy goes, are indeed changed and much improved. The language of the reports is clearer, the recommendations more specific and it is much easier to judge at a glance whether a country has made progress or not and how it compares to others.

The priorities and focus on certain areas of reform appear to have shifted further away from the EU acquis and to fundamental political institutional and economic  problems which citizens of the countries assessed would recognize as important. Rule of law, freedom of expression, the work of national parliaments and public administration reform are highlighted as key areas to be addressed for all candidates. Economic governance and competitiveness, as well as tackling unemployment are identified as serious challenges for all candidate countries, except Turkey. The refugee crisis and the imperative it creates for cooperation in the region is explicitly and clearly mentioned. In this way, this year’s reports address and incorporate much of earlier criticism concerning their lack of clarity and focus on acquis chapters relevant for the distant future instead of the real problems of the countries they monitor. By identifying and pointing clearly to the most important problems and challenges candidates face, the reports – and the Commission – aim to support mobilisation for reform, as it worked in the past with previous enlargement rounds of 2004-2007.

The main source of inertia for enlargement policy however cannot be eliminated by this improvement and this is arguably the member states. Governments in the existing member states need to be convinced it is worth spending political capital in discussing enlargement in national political debates and in actually making the case in favour of the Western Balkans. Having clear and objective reports, as much as this is possible, helps to make the case that certain countries have made more progress than others. But it is to the member states and their political elites to make the choice to move enlargement towards the front of their political agenda. Germany’s experience with migrants from the region will certainly bring more heated debates there and give enlargement policy more prominence, which is also recognized by the initiatives taken under the so called ‘Berlin’ process. But in the Netherlands next door, politicians and media respond to the reports with a deafening silence, even though Dutch policy makers must recognize that they need to engage in the region to share information and make policy in the current refugee and migration crisis that affects the Western Balkans and Western Europe alike. A more pro-active enlargement policy should provide an excellent forum to discuss these issues, as it had done in the past. To have the citizens on board, however, politicians should consider telling the public that the enlargement policy and process is a way to make sustainable policies involving their Western Balkan neighbours, also on migration, at a time when coordinated action is desperately needed.


Dealing with Turkey after Ukraine: could a new type of Union be forged?

The European Union’s confidence in its reach and attractiveness to its neighbours will never be the same after the events in Ukraine at the end of 2013. Even if there are few explicit signs yet that the years of inertia when the EU happily followed the tried and tested enlargement method are coming to an end, the realization must be dawning on European leaders that not only President Putin, but also other leaders of important EU neighbours are playing a different geopolitical game than the EU’s neighbourhood policy envisaged. Using enlargement as the most successful foreign policy tool the EU has had in the past decade may be dangerously inadequate in the current situation. The question is whether relations with Turkey, the largest and most geopolitically important of the countries currently negotiating for membership, should be reconsidered in the light of the dramatically changed global environment.

When former Ukrainian President Yanukovych refused to sign the long-negotiated Association agreement with the EU in Vilnius in November 2013, he appeared to EU leaders as someone who had been living in another world. And so he had. His power base was rooted in a personalized network, in a regime that had been increasingly turning from a formal democracy to an openly neo-patrimonial oligarchy. Confronted with Ukraine’s domestic elites and institutions, the European Union’s conditionality approach had a negligible impact in driving reforms. . The fact that Ukrainian elites, including the ones linked to previous President Yushchenko, were not in a hurry to implement the reforms the EU required, should have served as a wake up call for the European Union even before the Vilnius summit.

For all the differences between the EU’s Neighbourhood policy and enlargement, conditionality – trading domestic reforms for progress in negotiations – remains the cornerstone of the EU’s approach. But can it still work as it did in the past? During the Eastern enlargement of 2004-2007, there were several mechanisms underlying conditionality’s success. Next to a fairly credible accession promise on the EU’s side, domestically, both rational factors and socialization mechanisms worked to support EU demands for reform. As Central and Eastern European (CEE) politicians assured their electorates that they were working to ‘return to Europe’, rational cost-benefit calculations were strengthened by pre-existing socialization. The success of EU conditionality in Eastern Europe in the past was ultimately ensured by the fact that domestic leaders derived their own legitimation from following a path of Euro-Atlantic integration. This pre-existing socialization and the domestic institutional structure of the CEE states worked to complement EU demands and kept the process going. Such pre-existing socialization and favourable global context no longer exist for any accession candidate, with the possible exception of Serbia.

Despite the increasing resistance of candidate countries to reforming their domestic political institutions and policies, the EU’s enlargement strategy as it has evolved since 2011, includes even more ‘strict but fair’ conditionality rather than a reconsideration of it. Adding more steps in the process of accession and benchmarks for difficult chapters works when a country is well on its way to membership, as Croatia was. Despite the clear normative logic behind it, a similar approach has not worked in the negotiations of the Association agreement with Ukraine and it will most likely continue to be problematic for Turkey. Looking back at the last quarter century of enlargement, Heather Grabbe noted the EU’s gravitational pull has been remarkable, but that we have reached the end of the EU’s monopoly on transformative power . It is time to reassess the EU’s approach vis-à-vis its neighbours and partners.

What are the implications of this reassessment for relations between the EU and Turkey?

As Maniokas and Žeruolis have recently argued, enlargement is not a recipe for a successful foreign policy in general. Nowhere is this truer than for the EU and Turkey. Turkey’s negotiation process has been stuck in a stalemate since 2008. Even though formal negotiations have restarted in 2012 with a ‘positive agenda’ approach intended by the EU ‘to bring fresh dynamics into Turkey-EU relations’ and chapter 22 on regional policy has been opened, there has been no solution for the problems that led to this stalemate in the first place.

More importantly, the enlargement method does not work for the purpose of taking the next step to closer relations with Turkey demanded by the unfolding security threats in Europe, in Syria and elsewhere. The enlargement method, fixated as it is on a sequencing of chapters and harmonizing legislation with the EU’s own regulatory model, does not allow much flexibility to set different priorities. The enlargement method is not a foreign policy strategy adequate to the current situation in Europe and beyond.

The European Commission has recognized this and stressed Turkey’s role as a strategic partner in last year’s progress report. Yet at the same time, the Commission stated that the Positive Agenda adopted in 2012 is not a substitute for negotiations. However, in the light of developments in Ukraine and in Syria, we need to ask the opposite question, namely, whether negotiations are a good substitute for foreign policy. In contrast to the Commission’s view, I would argue the accession process is no longer the most suitable framework for EU-Turkey relations.

There are three main reasons for this: first, the dynamics of the accession process, second, the character and content of the acquis and third, the larger geopolitical picture in Europe and the expansion of Russian interests through, among others, the Eurasian Customs Union.

The dynamics of EU-Turkey negotiations have become largely negative, by the sheer virtue of being blocked for such a long time. Furthermore, if we accept that domestic elites and their socialization matter more than we previously realised, we need to ask ourselves whether Turkey’s new elites, led by Prime Minister, now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are interested going along with EU conditions. Until a few weeks ago, this question would have been answered in the negative, based on Turkish reactions to EU criticism of the Turkish government’s handling of the Gezi park protests and their coverage in social media platforms. However, on 18 September 2014, Turkey announced a new strategy to accelerate its accession process, including constitutional reforms and a public relations campaign. While first reports of this strategy indicate a change of tone and a greater commitment to dialogue with the EU on political reform, the European Union’s ability to respond to such changes, were they indeed to take place, remains very limited.

The EU’s credibility in relation to Turkey’s accession is diminished due to the EU’s own enlargement fatigue and negative public opinion trends towards Turkey as a potential member in several large member states. Even with the rising external threats from Russia and Syria, a substantial group of EU member states still inward looking with government policies responding to electorates for whom immigration rather than external security are seen as the biggest threat.

There is, however, little doubt that the European Union should re-evaluate its relationship with all its neighbours in the light of Russia’s new expansionism. Developments in Ukraine have shown that the EU should consider President Putin’s Russia as a rival on the continent. Given the pro-active Russian stance towards Ukraine and previously Georgia, it is not too far fetched to anticipate that Putin may have an expansive strategy for other Black Sea neighbours, such as Turkey. Turkey being a NATO member and a strong military power, Russia may seek closer ties in energy and trade to attract Turkey towards its orbit.

A rapprochement between Turkey and Russia may not be as unrealistic as its sounds. For one thing, even if Russia’s takeover of the Crimea affected the Crimean Tatars considerably, Turkish official reaction to their problems has been less vigorous than could have been expected.

Furthermore, similarities between the Russian and Turkish ideas of statehood might become more important especially if Turkey continues to feel rejected by the European Union. It is possible to imagine President Erdoğan having sympathy for Putin’s drive to reassert Russia’s role in the international arena as a way to anchor his popularity at home. It is also not unlikely that Erdoğan, Turkey’s most influential conservative politician, may find common ground with Putin the conservative. The Russian President has been positioning himself as the defender of conservative values, against the European Union as the ‘overly liberal’, ‘too tolerant’ other. This social conservatism may serve as a common ideological platform between Russia and some Turkish elites as it has already served to create common ground between Putin and the European far right. The spillover to geopolitical or trade issues may be both unexpected and disastrous for the European Union.

During the Minsk summit of the Eurasian Customs Union in October last year, Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbaev was quoted as saying that Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan had enquired about joining the Eurasian Customs Union. Such an eventuality may currently seem far-fetched, but its potential repercussions should be considered nonetheless.

Again, the recent example of Ukraine’s Association agreement with the EU and Russia’s attempts to have it amended is instructive. In September 2014, Russia attempted to re-negotiate the content and implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and especially its trade part, arguing that the trade provisions were incompatible with Ukraine’s participation in the Eurasian Customs Union. Russia submitted а long list of amendments to the already signed agreement, the main thrust of which were demands to exclude a number of goods from its coverage, about 20 per cent of all included goods.

Current agreements regarding the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey envisage that Turkey would align itself with the acquis of the Union with regard to industrial standards. Given Russian insistence on the importance of standards used in the Eurasian Union, both trade and political incompatibilities would mean Turkey would need to choose one of the regional trade blocks, but not both.

Even if Turkey’s reported interest in the Eurasian Union may currently be just another expression of frustration with the EU and the stalemate in the accession negotiations, the very existence of the Eurasian Customs Union, means the EU will not be the only game in regional integration in Europe any more. The European Union should strengthen its relations with Turkey to prevent more serious moves in the direction of the Eurasian Union.

The enlargement process as it currently is, can become an impediment to this goal, in several ways. First of all, despite resuming negotiations in November 2013, they are viewed by an increasing number of politicians in the EU member states as open-ended. It would not be an exaggeration to call them a dead end, especially if EU’s democracy standards continue to clash with the policies of Turkish leaders on civil society or the media. Even if they take a course of implementing further reforms in democratic governance, the EU is not able to make its promise of accession a reality, given the broad differences of opinion between member states on Turkish accession.

Next to this, the process and content of accession negotiations do not allow more flexible integration where there are common interests or needs. In terms of content, the bulk of the acquis are still market regulations based on bargains struck between the member states in the past. The EU’s enlargement method does not choose between acquis areas. Differences in sequencing are hardly a solution to this. While the Commission’s enlargement strategy for the 2004-2007 accession round relied on opening ‘easy’ chapters first to build progress and momentum and the revised strategy applied to Croatia started with ‘difficult’ rule of law chapters, keeping them open to the end, neither makes much sense as a short and medium term response to the geopolitical challenges the EU and Turkey face today.

The EU should aim to make a strategy and a foreign policy for Turkey taking these current challenges, especially the violent conflict in Syria, hostilities in Eastern Ukraine and the repercussions of the sanctions against Russia, into account. This would require two substantial adjustments in current thinking. First, both European and Turkish elites have to find a way to accept that accession will not happen. This should not mean giving up on trade and the Customs Union or offending and alienating Turkish elites: just the opposite. The goal of accession should be replaced with a form of functional Union , building on the existing Customs Union and providing both sides with support in handling the geopolitical problems they are faced with. A key difference with the current approach would be that it would not be based on a sequential adoption of existing acquis chapters, but on agreements to integrate deeply in specific, narrowly defined policy areas.

The formation of such a functional Union involving cooperation in specific policy areas, next to the Customs Union would be a form of differential integration. This would involve a second adjustment to current thinking. Instead of working through the acquis, the EU and Turkey could pick the policy areas in which each partner needs cooperation with the other and start from there. Policies to deal with refugees and asylum seekers, regional support for Turkish regions affected by the Syrian conflict, a joint policy supporting the rights of Crimean Tatars, joint policy on the conflict in Ukraine and trade arrangements in response to the Russian import sanctions could each be the subject of narrow, but deep cooperation. Another cluster of integrated policies could cover aspects of security not covered by NATO, such as economic security, energy security and energy routes. The EU’s values on freedom of expression, human rights and democracy do not need to be abandoned, but could be included as part of the issue linkages which would inevitably occur during negotiations. Such a differential EU-Turkey Union would be formed on the basis of equal negotiations, rather than the asymmetric enlargement method. The substitution of more equal negotiations for the currently ineffective enlargement method may in itself send a signal to Turkey that it is taken seriously as an important partner in trade and security and an important regional geopolitical power. In these precarious times, it is crucial that policy makers in the European Union ensure that the Union has a united front with Turkey on the future of Europe.

A shorter version of this commentary has been first published in the Global Turkey in Europe series of the Istituto Affari Internazionali and can be accessed here.


Postponing the implementation of the trade part of the EU-Ukraine Association agreement: Pragmatism or Surrender

After a long absence, we come back with an insightful analysis of the implications of the postponement of the implementation of the Trade part of the EU-Ukraine Association agreement by guest authors from Birmingham University

Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk

Few bilateral agreements have had such a turbulent history and implications as the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The refusal to sign the agreement by then president Yanukovych triggered massive protests in Ukraine resulting in his overthrow in February 2014. This in turn provoked Russia’s response: annexing Crimea and fuelling separatism in Eastern Ukraine, including direct military incursion in August 2014.

Importantly, the Agreement envisages a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which entails tariff changes but also provides for Ukraine’s integration into the EU single market. Russia has objected to both, alleging potential damage to its economy. Clearly, an important aspect of this ‘damage’ lies in the fact that the DCFTA precludes Ukraine’s membership into the Eurasian integration bloc, something which Russia has actively sought and presented as a viable (and indeed preferable) alternative to integration with the EU.

Asserting its independence, Ukraine signed the Agreement in June 2014. Russia’s opposition to it intensified over the summer leading to its delayed ratification. Trilateral EU-Ukraine-Russia negotiations continued against the backdrop of military intervention and threats of a trade war against Ukraine. Indeed, Russia’s demands have been far-reaching including a revision of the already signed agreement. The Russian government has in fact drafted amendments to substantive terms in somebody else’s agreement.

The tri-lateral negotiations resulted in compromise: the Agreement was ratified by the Ukrainian and European parliaments, but implementation of the key trade-related part (the DCFTA), was suspended until the end of 2015 due to ‘Russia’s concerns’. This middle ground is already proving to be unstable, with Russia reinforcing its demands for legal revisions and the exclusion of 2,000 commodities from the free trade regime. To assert its position, it has imposed tariffs with suspended application to mirror the EU’s approach. Furthermore, in a spectacular U-turn, it seems that at least the outgoing Commission President Barroso is not averse to the thought of revising an agreement that has been signed and ceremoniously ratified.

Who favoured this ‘compromise’ and why it was adopted still needs to be fully clarified. EU officials indicate that it was requested by the Ukrainian side concerned about the economic and social implications of Russia’s trade sanctions. Similarly, there was pressure from EU member states putting a premium on ‘appeasement’, or the ‘normalisation’ of relations with Russia and an end to the costly spiral of reciprocal economic sanctions. Despite what is undoubtedly a complex background story, the postponement of the agreement was labelled ‘business as usual’. If anything, the EU’s response to Russia’s pressure for a say on EU-Ukraine’s relations was presented as a success, on the grounds that ratification had taken place without ‘a single word having been changed’. As Elmar Brok, a veteran member of the European Parliament put it:
‘… this process [i.e. negotiations] has been concluded. And the Russians are part of it. They were there for the negotiations. It’s all coming into force. It’s just being implemented incrementally, as is often the case with contracts. From the legal point of view, the whole contract will be enforced in all its details. It’s just that there are often transitional arrangements. That’s normal in business.’

There is no doubt that since the start of the crisis, the EU has found itself in a particularly difficult position where it has tried to balance principles, economic interests and complex constraints. Yet, in opting for this latest compromise, Brussels has performed a U-turn with potentially high and diverse costs without securing a lasting resolution of the core issues in the post-Soviet region. Certainly many – the present authors included – have pointed out the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy so as to address a range of serious concerns. However, a last-minute decision announced three days before the Association Agreement’s ratification and taking many top EU officials by surprise hardly constitutes such a review. Allowing Russia to dictate EU-Ukraine relations does not indicate the application of a comprehensive, sustainable strategy. Whether it is born out of a pragmatic trade-off or a tactical retreat, it is a short-term fix based on a set of shaky assumptions. Its far-reaching implications, however, will still need to be confronted.

First, allowing Russia to participate in the EU’s negotiations on a bilateral agreement with another country sets a dangerous precedent. It is a blatant reversal of the EU’s earlier position. It opens a minefield for international lawyers. Even more importantly, it undermines the principle of dealing with Ukraine as an independent country: regardless of its ‘semantic framing’, the EU has accepted Russia’s right to determine the essential terms and the limits of its post-Soviet neighbours’ integration choices. The potential application of this precedent to other neighbours is obvious, but also has implications for relations further afield involving Turkey or China. Importantly, the EU likewise concedes to Russia’s double-standards in international relations: while Putin complains that nobody talked to Russia about the potential consequences of the DCFTA, he conveniently forgets that the Eurasian Customs Union was launched in 2010 with no consultation with the EU and no adequate transitional arrangements resulting in significant damage to EU businesses.

Second, it is not only the inclusion of a third party as such, but also the mode and the professed reasons for accommodating its preferences that are questionable. Russia’s justifications for its ‘trade concerns’, have been highly spurious and are, as Michael Emerson put it, ‘a non-story’. For example the problem of Russia being ‘swamped by EU goods’ can be addressed by the proper application of rules of origin. The EU has been involved in consultations with Russia on the subject for many months now making a strong case as to why the DCFTA need not disrupt existing trade arrangements. It is unclear how fifteen more months of discussions will help resolve a problem that in its essence is neither legal nor technical. Above all, Russia’s concern is a thinly veiled contestation as to who the rule-setter in the post-Soviet space is. Russia principally objects to the EU expanding its regulatory framework – via the Association Agreements – to Russia’s perceived exclusive backyard, the post-Soviet space. This is especially so given the clash of EU policy with the expansion of Russia’s own economic integration project. Faced with a complex bundle of economic and geopolitical concerns, the EU conceded to pressure rather than sound argument.

Third, EU statements on the deal refer to the peace process in Eastern Ukraine, implying that it amounts to a necessary sacrifice for the sake of ensuring a peaceful resolution between the separatists and the Ukrainian government. Its political acceptability is justified against the backdrop of a military conflict in which Russia has been a party. However, Moscow has adamantly refused to acknowledge its involvement, endeavouring to present the conflict as a local, bottom-up rebellion. Securing peace and saving human lives is an objective one certainly cannot disagree with; however, as it stands, the deal offers few guarantees and carries considerable costs. While Russia refuses to acknowledge its role in the conflict, the deal legitimises and validates Russia’s ‘hybrid war’ strategy: by instigating conflict, Russia is able to extract concessions from the EU for the sake of a ‘contribution to peace’.

Fourth, the EU’s actions rest on the assumption of a ‘fixed and stable agreement’, one that reflects and accommodates Russia’s preferences. It assumes that agreements and rules will be implemented. The source of this optimism – given Russia’s track record of behaviour – is unclear. Indeed, it has already been revealed that Russia is not satisfied by the mere delay of the Agreement’s implementation. Furthermore, the consensus on what constitutes ‘implementation’ might be overestimated given Putin’s reference to ‘any legislative implementing acts under the Association Agreement’. There is no reason to assume that Russia’s decision to trigger sanctions will be based more on law and shared understanding than in previous instances. The EU’s longing for ‘business as usual’ obscures the fact that this is the last thing it is and that Russia’s claims are derived not from legal agreements but from claims to a sphere of influence.

Fifth, while the need to ensure the compatibility of the DCFTA with interregional linkages is understandable, the EU has shown a sudden ready acceptance of post-Soviet integration structures. After many years during which the EU had raised valid concerns: for example, about the degree to which the Eurasian Customs Union acts as an economic rather than a Russia-steered, political entity with an unclear division of competences, or the degree to which it contributes to trade liberalisation and WTO commitments implementation. We, amongst others, have criticised the EU’s lack of strategic engagement with the Eurasian project, yet the show of caution has not been entirely unjustified.

If anything, Russia’s policies towards Ukraine amplify these concerns: the Kremlin has in effect (and with its partners’ consent), destroyed the Eurasian Customs Union by imposing unilateral trade measures on Ukraine. Recent statements of Commissioner Füle, however, reveal the EU ‘warming up’ to Eurasian structures, based on a presumed functional and rule-based equivalence of both regimes. While the Eurasian structures certainly contain promise, its actual delivery is circumscribed by a range of problems of institutional design and implementation.

The EU continues to state that regional economic integration frameworks need to contribute to trade liberalisation and WTO compliance. Yet, ironically, Russia’s threats to Ukraine – rather than the success of the Eurasian project itself – might end up earning it external recognition just as these very same threats undermine it internally. Furthermore, while the EU might be willing to enter into a comprehensive free trade area ‘from Lisbon to Vladivostok’, there is actually no certainty that free trade is what Russia wants and pursues.

On balance, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that by agreeing to this pragmatic, ‘principles-lite’ deal, the EU accepts and legitimises a particular way of conducting international relations favoured by Russia. Acquiescence to this pattern of behaviour comes at the very time when Moscow’s actions vis-à-vis Ukraine amount to a shake-up of the international order. The EU’s pragmatism has not been lost on the people of Ukraine, with the prevailing interpretation on social media being one of ‘having been abandoned’. For an outgoing team of the European Commissioners to present this as ‘business as usual’ while leaving a series of ‘landmines’ for future interactions between the EU and Russia should be a source of deep concern. Yielding to Russian anxieties rather than comprehensively addressing existing questions, opens a raft of new issues. They need to be confronted rather than obfuscated behind the rhetoric of normality.

A shorter version of this commentary has been published in The Conversation

Central and Eastern Europe, Enlargement, Uncategorized


Only last November, the most dramatic picture of the EU’s failure to bring its message to the Ukrainian leadership was a YouTube video showing Angela Merkel telling President Yanukovich in Vilnius, ‘We expected more’. A mild, civilized and diplomatic rebuke. After the failure to sign the long negotiated Association Agreement in Vilnius and a few more days of rescue attempts, Commissioner Füle was criticized for ‘losing his cool’ and being undiplomatic when he commented on twitter that the ‘words and deeds of Ukraine’s leadership were further and further apart’. Today, the internet and news agencies are alive with shocking images of violence from the centre of Kiev. In the last weeks the Ukrainian parliament passed, with lightning speed, legislation ‘stipulating jail terms for offenses such as driving in columns of more than 5 cars, people wearing hard hats and demonstrating in uniforms and ‘not complying with the demands of legal authorities’. In an even more bizarre Orwellian twist, those near the central square in Kiev were reported to have received an sms message ‘Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance’.

How could things go so wrong so rapidly: for Ukraine but also in terms of the ability of EU policy makers to influence events there? A small, rational part of the answer is that political regimes where the distance between informal rules and formal legislation is substantial are difficult to understand by studying only the formal legislative rules and the configuration of formal veto players. A gut feeling response suggests that the President and the opposition feel they have nothing to lose and therefore will not look for a compromise. Last but not least, the violence – which is, even in these curcumstances – not the wish of the majority of people protesting in the streets of Kiev these days – may be a sign that no one has any trust in President Yanukovich’s words any more. So Mr. Füle was right after all. One cannot help but wish that the realities of Ukraine’s political system of neopatrimonialism, a form of governance characterized by nearly complete state capture and power monopolies, (as defined by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi in a recent article in the Journal of Democracy) had been understood and acknowledged earlier.


Back to the USSR? Guest post: What kind of Eurasian Union might Ukraine be joining?

A guest post from our colleagues from Birmingham Dr. Rilka Dragneva and Dr. Kataryna Wolczuk, who have investigated the Eurasian Customs Union, the purported alternative to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. First published in Edward Elgar’s blog.

 “Ukraine is again at the centre of global attention after its government failed to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. This failure was interpreted as succumbing to Putin’s pressure to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus instead of re-orienting westward. There is little doubt that Ukraine’s full accession to this Union would be a major trophy for Putin, both domestically and internationally. The details of this volte-face remain obscure, but after years of negotiation, it was unexpected to say the least.

Ukraine has faced a dichotomy: Eurasia or Europe? Either choice carries hefty implications. Not signing was seen in the West as evidence of Ukrainian ruling elites acting on their old rent-seeking inclinations, fearful of the costs of EU-style modernisation. In contrast, Russia viewed the decision as a valiant refusal to submit to EU pressure and a pragmatic rejection of a deal with ephemeral, long-term benefits in favour of current and visible gains.

However, does the rejection of the EU deal in Vilnius mean that membership of the Eurasian Customs Union is Kyiv’s best option? How clear is the commitment and how credible is the Customs Union’s promise?

‘The Road Map’

No formal decision to accede to the Customs Union has been made by the Ukrainian government. We know that Kyiv is keen to restore ‘normal trade relations’ with Moscow and is considering a ‘Road Map’ for cooperation with the Customs Union (interestingly, the same phrase used to name the accession instruments of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan). In the case of Ukraine, detail as to this ‘Road Map’ is absent – other than Prime Minister Azarov’s cryptic message (‘we have many plans’,, 1 December). Putin-Yanukovych’s meeting failed to shed further light either. The Ukrainian government’s priority appears to be the return of the status quo i.e. the situation before Russia woke up to the reality of the EU option.

Ukraine has been a reluctant participant in Post-Soviet integration regimes, exhibiting a preference for ‘pick and mix’ formats (the Commonwealth of Independent States), observer status (the Eurasian Economic Community of 2000) or general, declarative frameworks (the Common Economic Space of 2003). In 2011, it joined the revamped CIS free trade area, a non-institutionalised treaty regime. Thus, since independence Ukraine has demonstrated an on-going recalcitrance to submit to a binding, asymmetric integration regime. However, it may be that the political tensions in Ukraine, underpinned by Russia’s pressures, will force the issue.

Certainly, President Yanukovich has declared his ‘dream of European integration’. As the post-Vilnius flurry of activity to extract a better deal from the EU has shown, there is some substance to his assurances that Europe remains the geopolitical choice of Ukraine. Yet, his room for manoeuvre is becoming ever more circumscribed, meaning that he may well ‘sit on the fence’ as long as possible. This is at best a strategy for avoiding decision-making rather than looking to the future.

Joining which Union?

Perplexingly, it is unclear which Eurasian integration regime Ukraine might join? Currently, there is the Customs Union which has no legal personality: it is an institutionalised treaty regime within the Eurasian Economic Community. As this status complicates rules on membership, accession is a function of signing the numerous agreements establishing the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space.

A new Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union is currently in preparation with the official draft likely to be publicly available in the spring 2014. The Eurasian Economic Union will incorporate the Customs Union and disband the Eurasian Economic Community. The Treaty is likely to have several chapters distinguishing commitments within the Customs Union, the Single Economic Space and other areas of cooperation. It is thought that some countries, like Kyrgyzstan, are to join only the Customs Union. Therefore, there are likely to be several membership categories. It is unclear whether the different degree of integration will translate into different terms of participation in the bodies of the Eurasian Economic Union. At present, institutional uncertainty prevails.

How real is the promise of the Customs Union?

The Eurasian Development Bank has highlighted the systemic as well as sector-specific economic advantages of Ukraine’s membership in the Customs Union. Other economic analyses are not as optimistic. While this is a complex issue, several points stand out.

The Eurasian choice might benefit sectors in Ukraine with strong dependencies on the Russian market. Yet, it will not be a costless option. Ukraine has relatively low trade tariffs and imports technologically sophisticated goods from the EU. These goods are important for Ukraine’s modernisation. Because of trade diversion, the Eurasian choice would result in a decrease of EU imports and increase (of lower quality items) from the Eurasian market, and above all, Russia.

More importantly, the Customs Union fails to address the modernisation of domestic institutions. Underestimated by many observers, the Customs Union has led to the adoption of new customs regulation aligned with international norms and has thus been an important vehicle for domestic legal reform. Yet, as many years of transition studies show, changing laws on the books does not necessarily lead to improved business practices and implementation. The Customs Union does not purport to change the nature of domestic institutions in the manner that the EU does. The powers and functioning of customs authorities, for example, remains a domestic matter. The Customs Union strives for improved coordination and exchange of information, but it is coordination of what is in place. Additional agreements aiming at capacity building might be put in place but they are clearly the subject of a process of separate negotiations with its own (geo)political dynamics.

While the importance of rule-compliance is noted (at least by experts in the permanent regulator of the Union, the Eurasian Economic Commission) it has been insufficiently addressed. The prevailing view is that if a high political decision is made, the authority of the Presidents will ensure its implementation. Clearly, despite the various monitoring powers granted to the Commission and the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community, access to the highest political level is the best way to getting things done. It is direct access to the top that will ensure discipline rather than dependence on rule-based compliance by domestic institutions, as is the case in the West. Thus, the inescapable fact is that the Customs Union is based on (and perpetuates) the politically centralised model prevailing in most post-Soviet states.

The speed with which the Eurasian project has developed is noteworthy – often, the quality of the institutional and legal design has been sacrificed to ensure that deadlines are met. Its current legal regime is over-complex and fragmented (see our book Eurasian Economic Integration: Law, Policy and Politics). There is the promise of the codification and simplification of that regime going on in parallel to the drafting of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, itself subject to tight deadlines and an ambitious agenda for cooperation. 

Finally, particularly as far as sensitive issues are concerned, it is consensus at the highest level that determines decisions. Asymmetries in bargaining power may be somewhat constrained, yet Russia ultimately remains able to shape trade-offs. In areas which remain subject to bilateral cooperation, such as energy, the multilateral framework is very ‘thin’ at present: in that field, Ukraine would remain one-on-one with Russia.

Thus, even if one accepts the optimistic scenarios emanating from Ukraine’s membership of the Customs Union, the realisation of the predicted benefits is far from guaranteed. Whether the current Ukrainian government realises this remains to be seen.”

Euroscepticism, Public opinion

How Bad is the EU’s “Communitarian Deficit” Compared to the US’s Shared Identity?

Caspar van den Berg

Whenever the European Union does not function the way we would hope a political community would function, there is a temptation turn to the absence of a shared European culture or identity as an explanation. If only Europeans would have a stronger sense of an European-wide “imagined community” (Anderson, 1991; 2006), there would be more popular support for the EU’s political system, there would be a greater economic and financial solidarity across member states, and an EU systems of taxation and defense would be less sensitive and problematic. Amitai Ezioni recently phrased the argument as follows: “[t]he insufficient sharing of values and bonds – not the poor representative mechanism – is a major cause of alienation from ‘Brussels’ and limits the normative commitment to make sacrifices for the common good” (Etzioni, 2013: 312).

In this discussion, the comparison is often made with the US, the only other political community that roughly resembles the EU in terms of population and territorial size and liberal-democratic principles. The US is often thought of as a polity with a strong sense of “imagined community” that is internally coherent and externally unique, and one which newcomers relatively easily buy into (Wright, 2011). That shared cultural identity is all the more admirable given that America’s ethnic and religious diversity is arguably larger than the EU’s is.

The stronger internal solidarity and implicit support for the political system in the US is for instance illustrated by the fact that wealth transfers through the federal tax system and spending programs take place on a large scale from the North to the South and Midwest, but they are seldom cited as problematic, let alone protested (The Economist, 2011). These wealth transfers are rarely mentioned as troubling, let alone protested (Etzioni, 2013: 314.).

By contrast, much smaller transfers within the EU, for instance from Northern countries to Southern ones and to Ireland, are currently rousing storms of protest and work towards the advantage of the anti-EU parties in the national arena’s of the member states and probably also in the European election of next year (see Mueller, 2013). Whereas these wealth transfers are seen as relatively normal in the US, in the EU they raise questions about the legitimacy of the polity as such. Apparently, the US, despite its polarization along partisan lines and despite its generally greater popular anti-government culture, succeeds in mobilizing greater internal solidarity and greater diffuse support for federal-level governing institutions than does the EU.

In this contribution, we explore how different or alike the US and the EU are in terms of their sense of “imagined community”, i.e. a “socially constructed community, imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group” (Anderson, 1991: 224). How strong should such a community be in order to sustain either a federal union in the case of the US, or an economically integrated polity in the case of the EU? Is an insufficient sense of imagined community the cause of the EU’s lack of popular support and effectiveness in certain policy areas? Is worrying about the EU’s democratic deficit therefore pointless if not first the “communitarian deficit”, as Etzioni puts it, is addressed?

In order to answer these questions, some conceptual grounding is helpful. Firstly, it is generally accepted that a well-functioning political system needs to be underpinned by the diffuse support of the population over which it exerts authority (Easton, 1965; Moravcsik, 2002). Diffuse support is distinguished from specific support for any given policy, and understood as “allegiance, attachment or loyalty to governing institutions” (Gabel, 1998: 17). That diffuse support is to a considerable extent, but not exclusively[1], driven by the sense among the population that they together form a community (Hooghe and Marks, 2004), and are “engaged in a shared enterprise” (Mitchell, 2013: 2). For political systems of continental scale and which demand large transfers of wealth from one part of the territory to another, there is an additional complication: the functioning of the system depends on a substantial degree of internal solidarity. That internal solidarity is in turn strongly dependent on the degree to which the population feels they together form a community engaged in a shared enterprise (Fligstein, 2008).

Secondly, when we talk about imagined communities, the opposing analytical constructs of “Diversity within Unity” and “Unity in Diversity” are useful. Both constructs reflect a view on cultural and political community, where the former places greater stress on unity and the latter more on diversity. “Diversity within Unity” signifies that there is a collective baseline of respect for and adherence to basic values and institutions that are considered part of the shared framework of society. At the same time, every group in society is free to main its distinct subculture – those values, traditions, habits, and institutions that do not conflict with the shared core. In short, the unifying set core values must always trump the particular cultures of the sub-groupings in order for the community to be thick and robust, but beyond that, diversity is generously accepted. (Ignatieff, 1993; Geddes, 1996).

By contrast, the model of “Unity in Diversity” signifies a type of integration in which diversity is taken as the collective’s starting point and which assumes that in creating a shared identity, diversity is not the problem but rather the solution. A shared commitment to preserving the subgroupings’ cultural heritages is considered to be enough to constitute a new community. In this cosmopolitan view, “Europe must be understood as plural – as societies, it must be understood in additive, or, at best, comparative terms” (Beck, 2005: 109).  European unity should not be sought in an idea of a European nation. Rather, this view contends that the persistence of the member states’ nations is the condition of a cosmopolitan Europe; and that “the more secure and confirmed Europeans feel in their national dignity, the less they will shut themselves off in their nation-states” (Beck, 2005: 116).

At face value, the United States seems to be built on a sufficiently strong internal solidarity to sustain large scale interregional transfers of wealth. But to what extent do Americans of different parts of the country perceive themselves really as part of the same community, engaged in a shared enterprise? Recent research suggests that regional variety in terms of political and social values is stark to the extent that the US should in political and cultural terms not be seen as one nation, but as a conglomerate of 11 distinct nations (Woodard, 2012).

The idea that there has never been an America, but rather several Americas is relatively old (Philips, 1969; Garreau, 1982; Hacket Fisher, 1989; Shorto, 2005). Yet Woodard’s book shows that when looking at a set of relevant variables at the county level – rather than the state level – including the distribution of linguistic dialects, the spread of cultural artifacts, the prevalence of different religious denominations, and the breakdown of voting in virtually very hotly contested presidential race in the history of the US, the borders of eleven American nations become clearly visible. That is not to say that each region has one exclusive culture, but that each region has a dominant culture, which embeds its residents within a cultural framework of deep-seated preferences and attitudes. The lasting cultural cleavages can be explained based on historical settlement patterns. [2] According to Woodard, the 11 nations are Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, Deep South, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West and New France. They will be described in key phrases below, taken from Woodard’s work.[3]

picture A

Source: Tufts Magazine

Yankeedom was founded by radical Calvinists as a new Zion, and has cultural traits related to perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, assimilation of outsiders, and a greater tolerance of government regulation and public sector social projects that many of the other nations. New Netherland was established by the Dutch and has cultural straits related to a global commerce: materialistic, with profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity, a center of publishing, trade and finance, a magnet for immigrants and a refuge for those persecuted by other regional cultures.

The Midlands was founded by English Quakers, and has cultural traits related to humans’ inherent goodness, welcoming people of many nations and creeds to their utopian colonies. Pluralistic and organized around the middle class, the Midlands spawned the culture of Middle America and the Heartland, where ethnic and ideological purity have never been a priority, government has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion, and political opinion has been moderate. Tidewater was built by the younger sons of southern English gentry and has cultural traits related to semi-feudal society of the countryside they had left behind. Tidewater places a high value on respect for authority and tradition, and very little on equality or public participation in politics.

Greater Appalachia was founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. The Deep South was established by English slave lords from Barbados, and meant as a West Indies–style slave society, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations.

El Norte is the oldest of the American nations, and consists of the borderlands of the Spanish American empire. Hispanic language, culture, and societal norms dominate. Norteños have a reputation for being exceptionally independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and focused on work. The Left Coast culture is a hybrid of Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration—traits recognizable in its cultural production, from the Summer of Love to the iPad. The Far West’s people are often resentful of their dependent status, feeling that they have been exploited as an internal colony for the benefit of the seaboard nations. Of late, Far Westerners have focused their anger on the federal government, rather than their corporate masters.

New France blends the folkways of ancien régime northern French peasantry with the traditions and values of the aboriginal people they encountered in northeastern North America. Its people have emerged as down-to-earth, egalitarian, and consensus driven, among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy. First Nation is populated by native American groups that generally never gave up their land by treaty and have largely retained cultural practices and knowledge that allow them to survive in this hostile region on their own terms.

These historically ingrained regional-national differences play out in values and attitudes towards issues including violence, capital punishment, taxation, regulations, social services, marriage equality, federal powers and general government intervention in social and economic life. Woodard sees the cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland as too large and divisive to reach consensus on these issues. Yet apparently, none of this stands in the way of a shared civic-nationalist identity and sense of imagined community holding up the federal state.

What do we see when we project this onto the European continent? While the stakes and the content of the differences and rivalries between the nations are markedly different in Europe compared to the US, at a constellation-level the analogy is quite striking: Woodard’s study and others suggest that the US is, much more than one nation, “a patchwork of separate nations, each with its own origins and prevailing values”. That already sounds reasonably similar to what the EU is.

But a deeper discussion of the political implications of the politically and culturally separate US nations reveals that the various regions find each other in changing coalitions and alliances vis-à-vis different political topics. “Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission and number to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South” (Woodard, 2012). It goes further in discerning Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast in opposition to a bloc that contains the Deep South, Greater Appalachia, Tidewater and the Far West. A European analogy would probably talk about the two superpowers as Germany and France, with a Germany-led bloc that also included the Benelux and the Scandinavian countries in opposition to a Southern bloc including the countries formerly referred to as the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain).

So, it seems that the US and the EU are both patchworks of separate nations with markedly different values and political viewpoints across its regions. Then the question remains why the Americans find enough that binds them together to maintain a reasonably uncontested political community and to accept large interregional fiscal transfers, while the Europeans do not.

While the American melting pot model in its ideal form seems to conform to the “Diversity within Unity” model, Woodard’s research shows that in reality the core of cultural and political values, to which all Americans adhere may be smaller than the doctrine would like us to believe. But without this shared sense of imagined community the US would probably not be a country. So notwithstanding the regionally defined national cultures of the US, there is another layer of cultural identity that unites all 11 nations, and which guarantees the functioning of the Union. Woodard focusses on the differences, and underemphasizes the commonalities, let alone the multi-layered nature of cultural identity. Woodard sees 11 distinct national cultures, whereas it would probably be more accurate to talk about 11 distinct subnational cultures or 11 distinct national subcultures. In other words, the construct of “Diversity within Unity” does seem a justified way to typify the US reality.

This reality is nicely illustrated by the culinary choices during the holiday of Thanksgiving this weekend. While the basic dishes and ingredients are the same from East to West en from North to South, tastes differ as to how they are prepared (Economist, 2013).

picture B

Source: The Economist,[4]

Where does this leave Europe? Certainly the US-type “Diversity within Unity” does not apply to Europe. The latest Eurobarometer results show that only 62 percent of the population of the EU feel they are a citizens of the EU, and 38 percent of the population of the EU still identify exclusively as the nationality of their member state. Moreover, 60 percent of the Europeans “tend to not trust” the European Union. In addition, large cross-national differences persist when asked about the values which are the most important for them (Eurobarometer79, 2013: 48-51).  Other indicators of a sense of European community point to a similarly low degree: Less than half of Europeans have socialized with people from another EU country during the twelve months preceding the survey, the proportion of Europeans who have visited another EU country during the last twelve months is 39 percent and the 22 percent of Europeans have used the Internet to buy a product or service in another EU country in the past year. Based on these figures, it is perhaps even doubtful whether “Unity in Diversity” applies, the phrase that nominally is the EU’s motto. While the “Unity in Diversity” model claims to be able to combine the call for the recognition of differences and the call for integration of divergencies, whether the latter is happening at the moment is up for debate.

So, while it seems fair to suggest that both the US and the EU are a patchwork of nations under an overarching political system, the threads and seams that hold the patches together are of a quite different nature. The American models resembles the “Diversity within Unity” model more closely if not as closely as the national doctrine would suggest, in the sense that over and above the national-regional cultures, there is a sense of shared civic citizenship, based on adherence to legal norms and a minimum of shared moral values and affective ties. The European model is more grounded in persistent high levels of diversity.

This discussion has shown that the US political system would unlikely be able to stand on diversity alone. Especially if some parts of the country have to make sacrifices for the community and the common good, a core of unity and belief in a shared destiny seems instrumental. Also, we know that European integration does by no means automatically give rise to supranational identity, and a more robust European imagined community seems necessary before deeper or wider integration should be undertaken.

On a more optimistic note, the fact that the relatively strong national-regional cultures in the US do not inherently or systematically seem to undermine the strength of the federal political system, neither through low levels of diffuse support for the idea of federal governing institutions or low internal solidarity, supports the notion that a strong member-state national identification in European does not necessarily preclude European identification or support, and that the key to a stronger imagined European community is in the kindling of a layered and inclusive “European-plus-national” identity roughly similar to the layered and inclusive “American-plus-regional” identity has taken shape.



Anderson, B (1991; 2006) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.

Beck, U. (2005) “Re-Inventing Europe: A Cosmopolitan Vision’, Quaderns de la Mediterrania 10: 109-116.

Bishop, B. and R. Cushing (2008) The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. Houghton Mifflin

Economist (2011) ‘America’s Fiscal Union: The Red And The Black’, The Economist

Economist (2013) ‘Gobble, Gobble: How The Thanksgiving Day Plate Varies Across America’, The Economist,

Etzioni, A. (2013) “The EU: The Communitarian Deficit”, in: European Societies, 15:3, 312-330.

Easton, D. (1965) A Systems Analysis of Political Life. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Eurobarometer (2013) Standard Eurobarometer 79, Spring 2013. Public Opinion in the European Union. Report.

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Garreau, J. (1982) The Nine Nations of North America. Avon Books

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Hackett Fisher, D. (1989) Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hooghe, L. and G. Marks (2004) “Does Identity of Economic Rationality Drive Public Opinion on European Integration?” Political Science and Politics 37:3 415-420

Ignatieff, Michael. (1993) Blood and Belonging: journeys into new nationalism. BBC Books and Chatto and Windus.

Mitchell, K. (2013) “European identity and the Eurozone Crisis: Diffuse Support for the EU and Specific Support for Integrative Economic Policies”, Paper presented at the 13th Biennial Conference of the EUSA, Mya 9-11, 2013, Baltimore, Maryland.

Moravcsik (2002), “In Defence of the ‘Democratic Deficit’: Reassessing Legitimacy in the European Union” Journal of Common Market Studies 40:4 603-624

Mueller, J.W. (2013) “How Europe Could Face its on Shutdown: Just as the Tea Party has Paralyzed Congress, an Alliance of Populist Anti-EU Parties Could Force Europe into Gridlock” The Guardian, 21 October 2013.

Philips, K. (1969) The Emerging Republican Majority. Arlington House

Public Tableau (2013) ‘A Nation Divided: The U.S. Can’t Agree on a Pie Flavor, But Everyone Loves Cranberry Sauce’

Sharpf, F. (2009) “Legitimacy in the Multilevel European Polity” European Political Science Review 1:2 173-204

Shorto, R. (2005) The Island at the Center of the World. Vintage

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Wright, M. (2011) “Diversity and the Imagined Community: Immigrant Diversity and Conceptions of National Identity”, In: Political Psychology, 32:5 837-862.

[1] Other factors being e.g. perception of representation and institutional fairness and justice (see Scharpf, 2009).

[2] While it seems plausible that the US’ high degree of cross-regional mobility would over time dissolve at least some these regional differences, in effect mobility has over time reinforced the differences, as people increasingly sort themselves into like-minded communities, a phenomenon analyzed by Bill bishop and Robert Cushing in The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart (2008).