The integration aspirations of the European Union in the Southern Balkans clash with silent opposition and subjugated knowledge arising from the region’s past. The regional mindset is still based on borders and differentiation. Power games are taking place that are based on local and other sub-national as well as national identity constructions.
With its own policy, the EU attempts to transfer to the region a new discourse and a new normative and prescriptive framework that define what is considered European. The goal of the policy is to change attitudes in states approaching the EU and to direct the locals towards institutionalised and lasting forms of cooperation across borders. In the course of the enlargement process the EU itself also changes and the concept of European is given new meanings.

Tanja Tamminen, researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, defended her thesis on this topic on Wednesday 20 May 2009 at the Institut des Etudes Politiques, a top university in Paris and received the best grade in the French academic system “très honorable avec les félicitations du jury”. The thesis, written in French, is entitled “Coveted Borders on the Margins of the European Union – the Governance of Political Space in the Southern Balkans after the Kosovo War (1998-2008)” and focuses on EU policies in the Southern Balkans after 1999. The year 1999 was significant for the Balkans in many ways as Serbian control over Kosovo was effectively ended and the EU launched a new policy in the Western Balkans.

Tamminen is currently working for the EULEX in Kosovo and she can be reached by e-mail at

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