European Union Agenda in Serbia’s Party Politics: A Clash between Rationality and Identity Politics

by Önder Canveren and Müge Aknur,

This article argues that “identity politics” determines party positions and political orientations towards the EU agenda in Serbian party politics. In its attempt to analyse the underlying reasons and legitimation strategies of the Serbian parties towards the EU agenda, the research employs a thematic content analysis of documents of eight leading political parties. The analysis finds that the current political conjecture in Belgrade has created schisms in the political arena by focusing on changing orientations in between old/new and identity/rationality. As a result of this analysis the article comes up with three main conclusions: (i) Pro-Europeanism is instrumentalized as a strategic-rational foreign policy orientation for the process of constructing a “new” Serbia, while excluding any normative perspective. (ii) For domestic motivations, pro-European opposition parties instrumentalize EU agenda as a way of targeting the government. (iii) Conversely, hard-Eurosceptic parties frame the EU as the other and/or enemy, due to the 1999 NATO bombardment and also EU member states’ recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

published in Vol 20 - No 1 -2020 // General issue
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Societatea Academica Romana