André Liebich: How different is the “New Europe”? Perspectives on states and minorities

05.11.2014 | By Michał Manin

The states that have entered the EU during the enlargements in 2004 and in 2007 differ significantly from the older members. The new EU members have displayed reluctance for multilingualism, federalist arrangements or any form of territorial autonomy for historic minorities, in contrast to the Old EU. The article written by André Liebich claims that „this reluctance may be attributed to state fragility, historically founded on the relatively brief and, in most cases, interrupted statehood of the new EU members.“

Furthermore, Liebich suggests that new EU members do not have experience of a non-European minority immigrant population, unlike the Old EU. Therefore, national identity of the new members “has not yet been challenged by the need to position themselves vis-à-vis non-Europeans.” As a result, new member-states of the EU may be expected to resist multicultural claims and strive for national homogeneity. This can lead to deepening of their distance from the older members of the EU.

André Liebich presumes that the differences between the Old and New Europe are deeply based in their different historical experiences.

A. Liebich, How Different is the New Europe? Perspectives on States and Minorities, [in]: M. Góra, K. Zielińska (eds) Democracy, State and Society. European integration in Central and Eastern Europe, Kraków 2011: WUJ, pp. 147-167.