The 5th Eastern Partnership Summit is an opportunity to promote conflict resolution in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. The initiative brings closer together EU citizens and people afflicted by post-Soviet frozen conflicts, and compels Brussels to engage in mediation whilst defending the territorial integrity of its Partners. In Ukraine, the Union faces the challenge of pre–empting the freezing of a conflict.
After the British people demonstrated their will to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016, many questions arose on the future of the EU. In particular, the security and defence of the Union, in which the United Kingdom has always played a crucial role, will become a highly important issue for the 27 remaining Member States.
The name dispute which has hampered Skopje’s path towards NATO and the EU receives fresh optimism. Both the new Macedonian government and the Greek Foreign Minister have signaled unusual goodwill for a soon-to-reach compromise. While some analysts assert that the ‘China factor’ may tone down Skopje’s thrust to the West, such a view is overly simplistic and should not pollute the hopes for a political reconciliation.
In a bold move that created a political list eponymously named after himself, the 30-year old Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz broke up Austria’s entrenched political order. He re-centered the conservative party – which had been in urgent need of reform – towards himself. This appraisal seeks to identify some factors of the continued success Kurz had been enjoying ever since he entered high governmental posts at the age of 24, but it also raises questions about how personalized politics further weakens the Austrian political parties.
In the history of independent Ukraine, we can distinguish three periods of rising nationalism with rising national indifference in response. The topic has always been strongly influenced by the ‘Russia factor’. Moreover, the occurrence of national indifference was highly politicized, raising both nationalism and national indifference to the rank of a problem, issue, and even threat. In this article, I try to describe the origin of national indifference in Ukraine, the specificity of Ukrainian nationalism and the evolution of these two opposite yet intertwined phenomena.
The Habsburg empire’s literature offers an intriguing landscape of Habsburg patriotism, which can be seen as a form of “national indifference”, a response to specific societal and political changes which affected the empire in its last decades, such as secularisation and nationalisation. This form of multi-layered belonging, having both territorial and religious anchors, but ultimately being attached to the institution of the Habsburg monarchy, was masterfully demonstrated in Roth’s chef-d’oeuvre, “Radetzky March” (1932). Through an analysis of fiction and nonfiction works of authors born in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the article will explore the notions of Habsburg patriotism, national indifference and a possible contemporary manifestation of the latter phenomenon, a form of “European patriotism”.
Disinterest towards one’s own nationality may be regarded as indifference, but this indifference is nuanced. For example, most of the post-Soviet Koreans who increasingly settle in the EU today seem well-assimilated and unconcerned about their identities, but they still continue to live their deeply ingrained national traditions. National indifference can therefore be dynamically combined with the concept of a ‘dormant diaspora’.
The EU’s cultural policy is characterized by a structural oxymoron: The EU pursues European identity-building via a national framework. While the locus of EU cultural policies is delegated onto co-opted national organizations, the main share of successful identity-building discourse is arrogated by the EU. It is the eternal dialectic between Member States and supranational interests that leads to this institutional conundrum. The EU Prize for Literature serves as an illustration.
Several (post-)Socialist governments established new state awards in the past years, which all carry the name ‘Order of Friendship’. The term ‘friendship’ here is genealogically related to the Stalinist concept of ‘friendship of peoples’. Western political theories, on the other hand, have largely abandoned this appellation in international relations. The burgeoning of ‘friendship orders’ is culturally contingent on a collectivist mindset, while the general popularity of state awards can be attributed to the increasing attention governments pay to public diplomacy.
By exclusively targeting foreign citizens, the Transnistrian “Order of Friendship” is confined to a limited scope: The tiny republic enjoys recognition only by a few Russian-backed breakaway regions. The recipients therefore consist of disputed leaders from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, some Russian politicians with influential NGOs, and a Soviet-era singer whose connection with the Donbass placed him on the EU’s list of sanctioned people. The political logic revealed in the government’s implicit criteria for “awardworthiness” is that of a narrow understanding of diplomacy.