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The European Union and Border Conflicts: The Transformative Power of Integration

  • Thomas Diez (a1), Stephan Stetter (a2) and Mathias Albert (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2006

Our article analyzes the impact of the European Union (EU) on border conflicts, in particular how integration and association are related to conflict transformation. We approach this issue from a theoretically as well as empirically grounded constructivist perspective. On this basis we propose a stage model of conflict development, based on the degree of securitization and societal reach of conflict communication. We argue that the EU can transform border conflicts and propose a four pathway-model of EU impact. This model comprises forms of EU impact that are, on the one hand, either actor-driven or indirectly caused by the integration process and have, on the other hand, as their main target either particular policies or the wider society in border conflict areas. We then apply this model to a comparative study of border conflicts, thereby analyzing the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Greece-Turkey, Cyprus, Europe's North (EU-Russia) and Israel-Palestine. We finish with a specification of the conditions of positive and negative EU impact.We are grateful to Gesa Bluhm, Olga Demetriou, Katy Hayward, Pertti Joenniemi, Kemal Kirisci, Yosef Lapid, Andrey Makarychev, David Newman, David Officer, Michelle Pace, Sergei Prozorov, Bahar Rumelili, Myria Vassiliadou, Jevgenia Viktorova, Tobias Werron, Antje Wiener, Haim Yacobi, and the reviewers and editors of this journal for their stimulating inputs, criticism, and support in the preparation of this article. Audiences at the Universities of Bielefeld, Hannover, and Osnabrück, Bilkent University (Ankara), the Viessmann Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada) and the copanelists at the BISA conferences 2002 and 2003, the ISA/CEEISA conference 2003, the ISA Annual Convention 2004, the ECPR Joint Session of Workshops 2004, and the ECPR SGIR Meeting 2004 have helped to shape and refine the arguments presented. We also thank Apostolos Agnantopoulos for his editorial assistance. This article builds on a research project on “The EU and Border Conflicts: The Impact of Integration and Association” (EUBorderConf), funded by a grant from the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme (SERD-2002-00144), with additional funding by the British Academy. See also 〈〉 for further information.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
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