Confronting Memories in the Process of European Integration

Research question/goal: 

The debate, first on a constitution, then on a new EU treaty was the occasion to address the question of Europe‘s finalité and identity. At the same time, following the enlargement to the East, Europe’s perception of its own "institutionalized" integration history and the histories of its national societies is reconsidered, especially regarding those of the new member states. These diverging histories involve many burdens. The memory of the Holocaust which has been a core element of the "acquis historique communautaire" until is now challenged by other dramatic experiences from the past such as communism or national memories that are object to conflicting interpretations in different parts of the EU. Results: When debating about nationalism in the light of EU integration, a line of demarcation seems to run through the continent between citizens of Western countries and those from Central and Eastern Europe. Collective memories in Europe after the Eastern enlargement are split up. The dark shadows of Europe’s pasts represent a new kind of invisible but omnipresent dividing wall, made up of misunderstandings, prejudices, and competing and conflicting memories. Working through the past remains a political imperative for the EU and its member states.

Fact sheet

2005 to 2009
Data Sources: 
Discourse analysis
Geographic Space: 
European Union