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Backdoor Nationalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2010

Jon E. Fox
Department of Sociology University of Bristol []
Peter Vermeersch
Institute for International and European Policy Faculty of Social Sciences University of Leuven [].
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Contrary to expectations, the EU’s eastward expansion in 2004 did not sound the death knoll of nationalism in the region; rather, it signalled its reinvention and, in some respects, reinvigoration. In this paper, we examine three ways in which nationalism has been redefined in Hungary and Poland in the context of EU enlargement. First, consensus on the desirability of European unification has lessened the importance of left/right party divisions; in its place, the “nation” has provided a fulcrum for inter-party contestation. Second, EU integration has provided nationalists in the region with a backdoor for realising old nationalist ambitions of national reunification across the porous borders of the EU. Third, we examine the way radical nationalist organisations in Hungary and Poland increasingly define themselves in opposition to the EU.


Contrairement à certaines attentes, l’élargissement en 2004 de l’Union européenne vers l’Est n’a pas sonné le glas du nationalisme dans cette région. Il l’a plutôt fait revenir à la surface et en quelque façon renforcé. On examine à partir des cas hongrois et polonais trois développements. En premier lieu l’accord consensuel pour l’entrée de l’Union européenne a diminué l’opposition entre droite et gauche ; en revanche, la « Nation » est devenue un point de fixation pour les luttes entre partis. Deuxièmement, l’intégration européenne a donné aux nationalistes une entrée latérale pour réaliser de vieilles ambitions de réunification par-dessus les frontières poreuses des Etats de l’Union. Troisièmement, en Hongrie comme en Pologne, des organisations nationalistes radicales apparaissent pour affirmer leur opposition à l’Union européenne.


Anders als erwartet, hat die Osterweiterung der EU nicht zu einem Rückgang des Nationalismus in dieser Region geführt. Ganz im Gegenteil, er ist publikumsfähig geworden und verstärkt aus ihr hervorgegangen. Die ungarische und die polnische Situation weisen drei Möglichkeiten auf. Erstens hat der allgemeine Konsens beim EU-Beitritt hat die Unterschiede zwischen Rechts und Links verringert. Die Nation wird Zentrum der Parteikämpfe. Zweitens hat der EU-Beitritt den Nationalisten die Möglichkeiten gegeben, eine Wiedervereinigung über die durchlöcherten Grenzen der EU hinweg zu erreichen. Drittens, sowohl in Ungarn als auch in Polen, entstehen radikale, nationalistische Verbände, um ihrem Widerstand gegen die EU Gestalt zu geben.

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Copyright © A.E.S. 2010

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