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Conference proceedings of the Thirteenth annual international academic conference on European integration - Europe and the Balkans

Robert C. Hudson; Ivan Dodovski; Marina Andeva

This volume is made up of a selection of peer-reviewed chapters originally presented at the 13th international conference on European Integration, organized by the University American College Skopje. Entitled: “Europe and the Balkans”, the conference was held at the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Skopje, on 17 May 2018. The main purpose of the conference had been to re-examine the complex construct of the Balkans in the European political and cultural imagination. Although the Balkans have been claimed by local nations as the ‘cradle of European civilization’, for Western imagining the region has usually featured as a ‘part of Europe, yet not of it’. It is to be hoped that the negative demi-orientalizing discourse which has stigmatized the Balkans as both a vortex of stagnation and violence, and as ’an incomplete self’ of Europe will eventually fade away with the integration of the Balkan countries into the European Union. Nevertheless, the controversial term ’Western Balkans’, invented as a seeming mask of political correctness, testifies to prevailing prejudice and obstacles to the process of European integration. It should also be noted that as a catch-all expression for the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, the term ’Western Balkans’ used to designate a geographical space once referred to more generally as South Eastern Europe was contested throughout the conference. The conference which involved about 20 prominent Macedonian and international scholars as well as over 120 attendees afforded an excellent opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of the Berlin Process and to other initiatives related to the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU.

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