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‘New Europe’: Between Cosmopolitan Dreams and Nationalist Nightmares



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    1. La Trobe University
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    • I would like to thank Vladimír Bilčík, Christopher Finlay, Robert Horvath, Adrian Jones, Robert Podbereski, Alberta Sbragia, Tobias Theiler, Douglas Webber and, above all, Nicole Scicluna for their feedback and support. I am grateful to the editors of Osteuropa, Manfred Sapper and Volker Weichsel, for their permission to republish parts of my article, ‘Wer hat Angst vor Osteuropa?’ (February/March 2009). I gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Australian Research Council for the Discovery Project ‘The Spectre of Velvet Revolution’.

Stefan Auer
Senior Lecturer in History and Politics
La Trobe University
Victoria 3086, Australia
Tel +61 3 94793239


This article seeks to expose some limitations of dominant discourses about European integration. It argues that the attempt to move towards a more federalist Europe underpinned by the ideal of ‘post-national citizenship’ (Habermas) is both unrealistic and undesirable. The populism and ethno-centric nationalism endangering the European project emerged in Europe not despite the cosmopolitan agendas of its elites, but arguably, in response to their ambitious agendas. A more realistic view on nationalism is imperative for a better understanding of European integration; one capable of addressing the appeal of populist politics.