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Ethnicity Studies 2004

Perceptions of European Integration

Meilutė Taljūnaitė Citizenship versus nationality under European integration

In order to study new potentials for citizenship as a medium of social integration that is not reducible to juridical processes, different areas of integration policy can be distinguished: human mobility, social exclusion and/or social vulnerability, social stratification, nationality and national identity, and a thematisation of citizenship as an alternative or positive approach to social integration. The article deals with the changing quality and the context of the social dimension in the European Union. Exploring why and how citizenship and nationality under European integration became a concern for member states, the article also seeks to identify and track the changing aims, objectives as well as the conceptual framework of social integration in the Baltic states and EU.

Article in English

Irena Šutinienė Search for European identity by Lithuanians and ethnic minorities

European identity formation is an institutionally supported project and political goal, but its experience at the level of the individual is still problematic. The article examines possible symbolic resources for European identity formation in Lithuanian ethnic groups. The empirical basis of the article is qualitative sociological research on the perception of European integration by Lithuanian ethnic minorities. The research was carried out by the Institute for Social Research in Lithuania in 2003. According to the results of the analysis, the cultural “idea” of Europe (the important re- source of durable and resonant European identity) is relevant only for intellectual elites. The positive attitudes towards EU expressed by the respondents of other classes do not have many attributes for the construction of a European identity as a sense of belonging. The opinions of respondents reveal signs of possible identity conflicts: those conflicts may derive from peoples’ definition of themselves as “different Europeans” and from particular nationalistic doctrines that they endorse. The development of a European identity among ethnic minorities may be related to how they experience their status as a minority (through the problems of national identification and through the aspirations to escape minority status).

Article in Lithuanian

Aksel Kirsch, Mait Tals, Tarmo Tuisk The identity dynamics of the Estonians and the Russians living in Estonia before and after the EU referendum

In this article, the analysts of the Institute for European Studies (Estonia) examine the attitudes of the urban population in Estonia towards accession to the European Union, based on empirical data from the cities of Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, and Narva (N=235 persons). Data were gathered during the European Union enlargement process in Estonia in the end of 2002 and in April–June 2003, some months before the EU referendum held on 14 September 2003. The Identity Structure Analysis (ISA), elaborated by Prof. P. Weinreich (University of Ulster) for research of the personal structure of identity, has been applied. Some basic factors that influenced the attitudes of residents of Estonia in the EU accession phase in 2002–2003 have been determined. The most important finding is their positive attitude towards Estonia’s accession accompanied by the aspiration towards the European values and together with following European cultural tradition. The new international context gives new opportunities for local ethno-national integration. During the debate, which took place immediately before Estonia joined the EU, the majority of the citizens realised that EU membership does not mean the unconditional loss of Estonia’s national identity, but provides new possibilities to define the country’s position on Europe’s geopolitical and cultural map instead.

Article in English

Tadas Leončikas Attitudes of ethnic groups towards European integration in Lithuania

The aim of this article is to discuss Lithuania’s membership in the European Union support to the extent of the largest Lithuanian ethnic minority groups and argue out the provisions of European Union membership change and its causes. The period of analysis is 1999-2003. The main article source is the surveys done during recent years in Lithuania which made ​​a broad view of Lithuania’s membership in the EU. In general, all major ethnic groups observed have similar view of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union. Each number of supported exceeds the number of disapproved. In some periods the absolute number of disapproved and approved of membership changes and data analysis allows to reveal some trends. Within a few years before the referendum in all groups of opponents of EU membership has increased and decreased the number of indecisive. However, in the early period and in the later period between indecisive wast majority Poles. Concerns over land ownership can be one of the factors affecting their provisions for EU membership. Until 1999 Russians who were are ready to vote for Lithuania’s membership in the EU the percentage was the highest, in 2000 one-third of Russians were against the Euro-integration. The different level of support remained until the referendum, and the attendance of ethnic minorities in referendum election was also lower than the Lithuanians’.

Article in English

Inese Šūpule The referendum on Latvia’s accession to the European Union: Analysis and conclusions

The results of a referendum and sociological data (Baltic Institute of Social Sciences) show that a large portion of ethnic Russians (44 percent) voted against accession to the European Union, while 20 percent voted in favour and 36 percent did not participate. The Latvian ethnic group was much more positive: 57 percent in favour, 18 percent against, and 24 percent did not participate. Representatives of other ethnic groups in Latvia voted 33 percent in favour, 25 percent against; 41 percent did not participate. The answer to the question why the attitudes towards accession to the EU are quite negative among ethnic Russians was sought both in quantitative and qualitative data. The results of this analysis testify that attitudes towards the EU are based on fear, a sense of inequality, uncertainty, and disappointment and among the Russian-speaking population also in a sense of inequality and exclusion. These negative emotions are based mainly in dis-satisfaction with implemented public policies.

Article in English

Ol’ga Gyárfášová Perceptions of European Integration in Slovakia

The study describes and analyses Slovakia’s path to membership in the European Union depicting the milestones of the Slovak integration process. It analyses the background of national and European identities at the theoretical level (“return of identity”) and shows the main features of both in Slovakia. The expectations of the citizens have been high and focused mainly on social and economic improvement. However, as numerous public opinion polls have indicated, the benefits are seen in the mid- or long-term perspective. Positive perceptions of EU membership provided ideal conditions for the smooth course of the euro-referendum. However, turnout (52 percent) reached only slightly more than the necessary quorum, while 92 percent voted in favour of becoming a member of the organisation. By becoming the full-fledged member of the European Union, the ultimate goal has been fulfilled. However, new member states witnessed an extremely low turnout in their first election for the European Parliament. The author concludes with an evaluation of the extremely low turnout and the outcomes of the historic election for the European Parliament in Slovakia.

Article in English

Horatiu Rusu Romainians and the idea of European integration. An analysis based on Romanian public opinion barometers

In Romania we trace one of the highest levels of support for the European Union and for European integration in Europe. However, in this article the author attempts to capture the profile not of the sustainers of the European Union and European integration but the profile of those people who do not favour it and those who have no opinion about the EU. The analysis reveals that the profile of these people is rather similar to the profile of the people who traditionally vote for leftist parties in the post-communist Romania.

Article in English

Cesarina Manaserro Italy. The paradise and the hell of minorities

The author deals with the legislative framework related to minorities in Italy. In the Italian Constitution, written in 1948, we can find two paragraphs related to minorities. It is argued that essential change in legislation in Italy occurred in 1999 when a general state law was passed. This provided forms and models of protection not only for the biggest groups but also for the smaller ones. So there is now a specific provision for Albanians, Catalonians, Germans, Greeks, Croatians, Friulani, Ladini, Occitani, and Sardi. The chosen criteria is a territorial one. This law promotes trans-border and inter-regional cooperation as the most qualified instrument to reinforce  and to protect cultural identities from the risk of assimilation by the predominant cultures. It is argued that the problem is still very thorny. Italy, like most other Western countries, experiences the phenomenon of substantial migration. It is discussed whether it is possible to speak about minorities also in reference to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers

Article in English

Vera Klopčič Roma in the process of European integration

The article deals with the position of Roma in the process of European integration, as unique challenge that offers possibilities for the greater visibility of the Roma in the public sphere in Europe. New Roma movement emerged in Europe to get, for the first time, self organised Roma leadership in a structural manner for further empowerment of Roma as a community. In Slovenia the status of Roma is regulated by special legal stipulations. The focus of the article is on those elements that are common to all Roma in the states of Central and Eastern Europe. At the moment, there are a number of projects aimed at the protection and improvement of Roma status within the framework of the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Open Society Institute and other international institutions. The article presents results of the regional project “RWCDI/Romany Women Can Do it” as an example of a good practice.

Article in English

Simona Zavratnik Zimic More than foreigners, less than citizens. Migrants and their membership in the enlarged EU

Contemporary migration processes, both global and local, have an important relationship with the notions of membership, differences of identity and therefore with the possibilities of immigrants becoming and being citizens. The article deals with the perspective of integration of immigrants into new societies, starting from the principle of two-way intercultural communication, as integration policies do not involve immigrants more nor any less than other members of society. Care for others indicates an ‘ethical imperative’ of such integration policies that are mainly concerned with norms and values in society and aim to accomplish social solidarity and social cohesion. In addition, the case of Slovenia is given as an illustration of recent migration trends in the enlarged European Union, along with the prevailing management of border control as a key element of migration policies.

Article in English