Responses of the Visegrad States to the Migration Crisis and the European Identity

Responses of the Visegrad States to the Migration Crisis and the European Identity

Neriman Hocaoğlu Bahadır (Kırklareli University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1188-6.ch023

Abstract

European identity is an identity constructed everyday within the lives of Europeans. The emergence of this identity can be traced back to the 1970s when it was first introduced in the Copenhagen Declaration on European Identity (1973). The identity has changed a lot with each enlargement of the EU. It has enriched and evolved. But its construction has not been completed, as it is a process with no end. The EU has faced many crises and one of them that challenges identity is migration. It is a test for the EU, its identity, way of life, and values. This chapter analyses if migration is a threat to EU identity, how it became a challenge, and how the actors respond to this challenge. To find out how it became a challenge and how the actors, especially the Visegrad States' political leaders, respond to this challenge, the discourses of political actors are evaluated.
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Theoritical Background

In this research, constructivism is chosen as the theoretical basis of the study because of the idea that it can explain the construction of the European identity better than any other theory. One of the focus points of the theory is identity and it enables us to evaluate the European identity as a process. In order to form a basis for this study and clarify why it is preferred as the theory of this research some scholars are referred in this part.

First of all, it should be started with Ted Hopf’s (1998, p.196) view that constructivism is a “theory of process” as in this chapter, the construction of the European identity is given in a historical context but it is not a finished process on the contrary, it is an on-going process. Here, it also needs to be stated that according to Hopf (1998, p.192), constructivist research program is about “understanding how identities are constructed, what norms and practices accompany their reproduction, and how they construct each other”. This point of view of constructivist approach helps us to see both the European identity construction process and the its changing nature with the discourses of some member states. Even though in this chapter it is focused on the discourses it should also be noted that discourse is not the only factor, which has a changing and constructing effect in identity formation process. For instance, in the European identity construction process the importance of institutions and their effort cannot be overpassed and the effects of each enlargement should not be forgotten, as well. Here, to be in line with constructivist point of view the importance of institutions especially in the construction of European identity can be explained with Mark Pollack’s statements. According to him:

… constructivist scholars generally define institutions more broadly to include informal norms and intersubjective understandings as well as formal rules, and posit a more important and fundamental role for institutions, which constitute actors and shape not simply their incentives but their preferences and identities as well. (Pollack, 2001, p.234)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Solidarity: It is a concept which requires being and acting together among people who have common interests or belong to same community.

Migration: The act of moving from one place to another.

European Identity: An identity, which is constructed everyday within the lives of Europeans.

Crisis: A very difficult or dangerous situation which is really complicated.

Challenge: It is something difficult which can be overcome by great effort.

Burden Sharing: The act of sharing responsibilities comes out of a relation.

Threat: A person or a thing which can cause danger.

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