Nationalism and Transnationalism in the Context of the European Union

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Nationalism and Transnationalism
In the context of the European Union

(…) History says, ‘Don't hope
On this side of the grave.’
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells....
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term (...)
The Cure at Troy Seamus Heaney, 1996

Table of Contents:

Structure and Methods6
1. Nationalism: Definitions, Concepts and Theories8
1.1. Defining "Nation"9
1.2. Concepts and Theories of Nationalism13
2. The New Europe: Nationalism reframed?22
2.1. History and Ideology23
2.2. The Emerge of the European Union32
3. European Nationalism: Transnational Integration36
3.1. International Relations perspectives36
3.2. Nationalism and Transnationalism40
4. The future of Europe: National debates46
4.1. The EU: State of Nations or Nation-State?47
4.2. The European Union and its Citizens61
4.3. Constitution for the European Union?67


The twentieth century bears tragic scars left by the First and Second World Wars. Fifty million soldiers and civilians lost their lives in conflicts that left Europe in ruins.[1] In 1945 Europe faced the task to rebuild the European countries destroyed in war conflagration as well as reconstruct the peaceful relationships between the European states. People in different parts of Europe began to dream about a different kind of Europe. Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of post-war Germany, claimed that Europeans must break the habits of thinking in terms of national states, and look beyond the borders of their own countries, to be able to work in cooperation with other nations for true aims of humanity. [2] That was the dream of one of the founding fathers of the European Community. As president Vaclav Havel said:

We must not be afraid to dream of the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become a reality.  Without dreaming of a better Europe we shall never build a better Europe.[3]

And reality it became. A few years later, the first step to unification, with the aspiration to create a workable guarantee of peace on the old continent, took place. The process, which began over fifty years ago, resulted in emerging the European Union in 1992.[4] The building of a united Europe is undoubtedly one of the greatest historical undertakings of the century. That process, though, has not yet come to an end. There are many challenges facing the European Union, and one of the most vital issues is the question of national sovereignty and the persistence of nationalism. It is also influential in the context of the European Union, which faces the discourse about the shape of the EU members’ domestic policies as well as relation between states. Nowadays Europe is facing the question: To what extent will assimilation of the European states emerge? Will the Europe of the future will be a Europe of institutional networks governed by sovereign states or will it constitute a common European State? The ongoing debates about the future shape of the Union are concentrating on the form of constitution that the organization will adopt.[5] The prospects of that...
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