International Studies Association Annual Convention
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The proliferation of European Union (EU) institutions has served, in part, to change the nature of identity in Europe. Not only do people identify with their national state, but they also increasingly identify themselves as European. The structure of the EU currently falls between the positions of intergovernmentalism and supranationalism, and this debate helps to explain the middle ground between concurrent identifications with the national state and also with the continent.
This paper specifically examines statements made by three nationalist parties in Western Europe including Vlaams Belang (VB) in Belgium, Front National (FN) in France, and the Freedom Party (FPO) of Austria. All three nationalist parties have made negative statements about the potential accession of Turkey into the EU. Since domestic politics still contributes to EU decision making processes, the role of nationalist parties is important because each of these parties often receives the support of 10-15 percent of the electorate. In order to maximize votes, other mainstream parties often adopt some of the nationalist rhetoric and, unwittingly, endorse the platforms of these nationalist parties.
In all three cases, dissenting opinions of Turkey’s EU accession bid also correlate to notions of identity encompassing both national and European identity. Each nationalist party argues that Turkey does not fit into Europe culturally and therefore should not be able to join the EU. This position is often co-opted by mainstream parties and serves as one factor that has contributed to Turkey’s difficult road to EU accession.
Turkey, European Union
Duerr, Glen M.E., "Domestic Ethnic Nationalism and Regional European Transnationalism: A Confluence of Impediments Opposing Turkey’s EU Accession Bid" (2013). History and Government Faculty Presentations. 26.
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