Matei Bogdan
Publicat în 9 decembrie 2020, 12:14 / 165 elite & idei

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă: Are the Balkans Still the Other of Europe? Untangling the Post-conflict Realities with an Outsider’s Gaze

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă: Are the Balkans Still the Other of Europe? Untangling the Post-conflict Realities with an Outsider’s Gaze

The Balkans, or the “Western Balkans,” as they are more formally referred to in the media, are currently the main beneficiaries of the European Union’s Enlargement policy. The countries had been stuck in EU’s so-called “waiting room” for the last fifteen years, and many scholars, policy makers, and artists have tried to untie the Gordian knot in understanding this region and its political future inside Europe and the EU.

The Balkans remain a rather contested geopolitical construct than a purely geographical denomination—a multiethnic area that encompasses all the countries in the former Yugoslavia (except for Slovenia and Croatia, who are now EU member states) and Albania. Therefore, the term “Balkans” has referred to very different political entities along the last three decades, but also in the last three centuries. This region in the troubled margins of Europe proves to be the challenge of a lifetime for any political researcher, and the proof lies in the fact that no matter how deep you go into the subject, the social and political complexity of the region manages to uncover a new layer of complexity waiting to be solved. This makes the Balkans a true gem for any scholar trying to approach it, as is the case for myself. Yet, we all need guidance in the process of untangling the Balkans. Working for the last five years with professor Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă, a young researcher from Romania who specializes in this region and in EU’s foreign policy discourses, I managed to discover the less-approached ways of understanding and even problematizing the Balkan region, its people, its politics, and its passions, while mapping various stereotypes that all our lenses are formed of when approaching the topic.

Having devoted a large part of her research to the post-conflict reconstruction and the intricacies of the Europeanization processes in the Balkans, as we can see in her recent publications focused on identity politics in Bosnia Herzegovina or Kosovo (The War of Meanings, 2016), Butnaru-Troncotă responded to my enquiry by sharing some of the less approached paths to discovering the hidden research treasure that lies next to the Romanian border and its continuous struggle to “get back to Europe” or in the EU. Her views on these topics are even more challenging as she had different encounters with stories in the region from the perspective of her other career, as a poet and cultural activist (under the pseudonym Miruna Vlada). This allowed her to participate in literary festivals, readings, and debates in the Balkans, going far beyond a scholar’s bird’s eye. Having remained connected with authors and artists from there has surely helped her achieve almost an insider’s perspective on how the Balkans were built as the “Other” of Europe. In a country where almost all eyes are on Western Europe and the US, like Romania, tackling a region marked by conflict, political and social instability could be perceived as weird or a risky move. But discovering the so-called Other of Europe, and especially reflecting on the biases of the entire process of constructing this Other is a prize worth searching for, as the Romanian young researcher and writer explains in this interview.

—Dragoș Ioniță for EuropeNow

EuropeNow In the last thirty years, the Balkan region has been dubbed either a “powder keg” or a “geopolitical chessboard”—so there is always a sort of negative connotation to this name that persisted for decades. What is the reality behind these metaphors and how can the countries in this region prove that these labels are part of their past, not their future? And in fact, who is responsible for this label attached to the Balkans that seems to reinvent itself and become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă Behind any metaphor or label there are people and their contextual perceptions. Indeed, this “powder keg” metaphor entered almost common sense, and it was first launched with reference to the Balkan wars, just few years before the First World War. It referred to the need of entities part of Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire to put into practice their nation-building project, and in a multi-ethnic region this was for sure expected to be “explosive.” The term has been heavily re-used ever since in relation to the region during the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in the ‘90s when the Balkans re-entered into global attention in connection with the atrocities of an ethnic war. But there are many other stereotypes and forms of using the Balkans as an equivalent to a stigmatisation of perpetual conflict and ethnic hatred. In fact, as Maria Todorova showed back in 1997, but also other authors after her, these are nothing but prevailing “Balkanist” features, that are to be reproduced in a variety of cultural, political and media discourses which promote the idea of a sort of chronic “dysfunction”that persists in the Balkans for decades or even centuries and that needs to be “made functional” with technocratic tools of “democracy promotion” implemented by Brussels-based experts and consultants. It is perfectly true that the process of the dissolution of Yugoslavia through various wars has dragged on for nearly two decades and it has deepened the “stigmatization” of the region, but just as you suggested it is important to look carefully at who are the ones circulating these labels in the first place and at how they are reproduced in public narratives. In fact, other powers were the ones putting labels on the Balkans and this influenced their self-identification narratives that perpetuated a very critical or negative image. And these labels/ metaphors have also transformed into political actions—exactly the “self-fulfilling prophecies” that you mentioned. Of course, this action of blame-shifting from the locals in the Balkans to the internationals / Westerners makes it very hard to distinguish between the exact cause and effects of discursive / symbolic actions in how the Balkans developed with a built-in negative association. In fact, there are two books that I would definitely recommend for explaining this whole process much better than I could—Dušan I. Bjelić and Obrad Savic (ed) “Balkan as Metaphor. Between Globalization and Fragmentation” (2002) and Andrew Hammond “The Balkans and the West: Constructing the European Other, 1945–2003” (2004). Bjelic and Savic and the other authors of the book show in fact that the “Balkans” can be better understood as a metaphor even more so then “a myth, a place and a condition,” pointing towards the fact that this term has been used and abused mostly in Western in academia and then re-used pejoratively by scholars in the region themselves to refer to excessive fragmentation (expressed by the concept of “Balkanization”) and “nostalgically to refer to Europe’s lost people—its wild warriors and passionate geniuses.” Even in the field of policy making analysis we need to detach from this heavy burden of the concept and be very careful in addressing its suppositions and implications. The same argument is being articulated also in the book edited by Hammond that shows the manner in which the Balkans and the West have constructed each other since 1945. This tells us that the region building of the Balkans was a political and symbolic interactive process, defined by various parts of the story, even if for some period of time some voices/ trends were more influential than other. But the book shows that looking at the Balkan representations of the West over the last fifty years we need to take into account both the “harsh denigration of the Balkans, which came to dominate Western discourse after the initial euphoria of 1989, and the emerging tradition of contesting Western ‘Balkanism’ in South-East European cultural production.” Through this dual emphasis, of the back and forth between the West and the Balkans, my opinion is that whenever we try to define the Balkans we need to look at these very complicated and most often fuzzy representational practices that help to maintain a deeply divided Europe in this outside/inside continuum of the EU integration process.

EuropeNow I’m curious, what makes the (Western) Balkans so appealing from a political researcher’s point of view? What made you focus your research on this region, more than any other?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă I think that I probably already answered in the previous question why are the Balkans so fascinating. First, because it a very rich and colorful region, very diverse, full of contradictions and this makes one never get tired of it. When I first traveled to the region (back in 2007 in Croatia and Montenegro and then in 2009 in Sarajevo were my first short encounters with it, as a student), I was mesmerized by the great storytelling and seductive abilities of ordinary people in the Balkans telling you ‘their’ version of the war or any other topic. Second, I decided to get an in-depth look into the sometimes-parallel identity-building processes in the context of the EU integration in the Balkans, because it all seemed to me much more profound than the post Yugoslav integration-disintegration duality. The so-called Europeanization of the Western Balkans is directly connected to the post-conflict reconstruction process, and I find this very complex web of actors and narratives as both intriguing and fascinating.

Well, as I mentioned before, the ‘Balkans’ as a concept exists for centuries, whereas the ‘Western Balkans’ freshly appeared as a concept in the 90’s in the European Union integration jargon that included all former Yugoslav countries and Albania. So the debate is very old and new at the same time. I would say that the concept remained controversial in the literature and in the media, being infused with various meanings, depending on the approach taken by the researcher. In defining this region that is profoundly tied to a mental / symbolic map I believe that the researcher’s own position towards the subject is fundamental. So, in my case as a Romanian scholar, I feel simultaneously outside and inside both the object of inquiry and the process of attaining knowledge about it. When I made my first research field trip in Bosnia (as I did not speak the language), I felt both as a foreigner, but everything seemed very… very familiar, and I really had this feeling I knew the people and the places since forever. Like many other apparent geographical terms with a profound geopolitical touch, the Western Balkans are more in the minds of EU policy makers (the ones that first launched this “Western” part of the Balkan concept—sometimes in the ‘90s) than something we can see with our own eyes. There is for sure a lot of fog behind this concept and this invites for multiple investigations. I use to say that I was “trapped” in the Balkans little after I started reading about them. I believe we cannot really grasp it without also reflecting on the concept of “Balkanism” that Maria Todorova launched in 1997 in her well-known book “Imagining the Balkans.” We should start with this idea—that while we have the impression we are defining a region, we are actually imagining and “creating” it at the same time based on our own perceptions, with our theoretical biases.

EuropeNow You are often mentioning Todorova’s concept of “Balkanism” as a negative stereotype about the Balkans deeply rooted in the region’s complicated history. Do you believe this still exists, even more than 20 years after she theorized it?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă Yes, I am tackling the concept of “Balkanism” in most of my writings on the Balkans and I believe it is still very valid both for the past (when Todorova analyzed its manifestations), but also in present times. In short, “Balkanism” was a certain attitude towards the Balkans that one could observe in foreign researchers attempts to define the Balkans and this attitude is in a certain way responsible for how foreigners have dealt with the Balkans and the way they influenced the general overview that became dominant. The ground-breaking works of female researchers, native from the Balkans, but living and writing in the Western academia such as Milica Bakic-Hayden “Nesting Orientalism” (1995), Maria Todorova—“Imagining the Balkans” (1997) and Vesna Goldsworthy—“Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination” (1998) have established ‘Balkanism’ as the center stage concept for the critical study of colonial representation of the Balkans in the West. Todorova shows that ‘Balkanism’ was shaped as a discourse in the early decades of the twentieth century, in the Ottoman period, when the designation “Balkan” first entered the peninsula, but whose genealogy can be traced to patterns of representation from the sixteenth century onward. She defines the concepts as “a specific discourse which molds attitudes and actions toward the Balkans and could be treated as the most persistent form or “mental map” in which information about the Balkans is placed, most notably in journalistic, political, and literary output.” I totally embrace her definition, which points not to the region itself, but rather to its constructed representations that have been politicized in the last centuries by various powers, starting with the Ottomans. So, we should start by looking very carefully at the actors using certain definitions for the Balkans, rather than the concept itself, just as Sembene Ousmane was saying: “History may create its own images, but the quest is to find who owns these representations”. So I tried to identify elements of this “Balkanist” representations also in how EU integration studies approach the Europeanization of the Western Balkans, in an inter-disciplinary way. For me, discovering the so-called Other of Europe, and especially reflecting on the biases of the entire process of constructing this Other is a prize worth searching for. In this sense, I interpret the EU integration process in the Balkans as an opportunity for “re-imagining the Balkans” including visions both inside and outside the EU. The implementation of EU conditionality cannot fight against this stigma put on the region, but sometimes it is even the contrary—it depends on it, contributing to its reproduction in policy narratives. There are in fact multiple forms of “Balkanism” (the concept that I discussed above) visible in the process of the so-called “Europeanization of the Balkans”, understood as a symbolic space for the articulation and re-articulation of how the Balkans are thought about at different times by different individuals or groups. This process of EU conditionality that regulates EU-Balkan relations are not at all “technocratic,” as EU pretends in its Annual Progress Reports, because the countries that want to join the EU are treated as “essentially different than Europe,” the “Other of Europe.” And EU acquis (especially in the countries that have structural problems) deepens sometimes these differentiations based on multiple stereotypes.

EuropeNow How would you describe your personal connection to the region, beyond the political theory attractiveness? What kind of experiences define your journey to discover and analyze the complexity of the Balkans?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă During my field trip in Bosnia I did not want to stay locked only in my research topic, or in the library, so I exposed myself to other topics and experiences—I also worked as an intern in the Romanian Embassy in Bosnia and I participated in classes together with foreign students at the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies in the University of Sarajevo. I made a lot of friends in the artistic field and from different walks of life. It was a form of unorganized participatory observation. In total I did almost seventy research interviews. It was way far beyond the scope of my research. I did not perceive Bosnia anymore as an “object” of study, but as part of my own process of understanding the world and confronting my biases. In the end, I even wrote a love letter to Bosnia[1], to critically reflect on my own perceptions of the experiences of alienation and misperceptions. Well, I may be forgiven for that as we all know that researchers are narcissists, but I really believe that the transformations in my own way of seeing and experiencing the world have influenced my research. I made an interpretative study, so I afforded this luxury of forcing the limits of biases. I published my research findings[2] one year after I came back to Bucharest, as I had to finish my work. But only one year after, when I went to Kosovo for a job experience following my PhD, I started writing another book on Bosnia, based on my deep feelings and perceptions and that came out as a collection of poems—“Bosnia. Partition” with voices of different women’ stories trying to remember of forcing themselves to forget the war, but also their personal traumas. The book was very much appreciated in Romania (it was awarded as the book of the year in 2014) and parts of it were translated in Bosnian/Croat/Serbian language. My book deals also with political aspects of constant historical “victimization,” the combination of nationalism and corruption and Europe’s policy of closing borders while claiming solidarity. In 2016, I published another book[3], with a new set of interviews from both Bosnia and Kosovo and I believe that all these three books, both research and poetry, came as a result of my fascination with this region. I assumed from the beginning an interpretative approach on the subject, so I tried to focus very carefully on the researcher’s position when studying this topic.

EuropeNow Research can come in many shapes and nuances. In your case, you are not just a researcher, but also a writer. And yet, you didn’t abandon the Balkans—your poetry volume, “Bosnia. Partaj” / “Bosnia. Partition” catches the tragedy and trauma of the former Yugoslav state from a different perspective. How did you manage this connection with Bosnia and the Balkans in general between a political research topic and a soulful introspection process?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă The words of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her famous TED talk from 2009 have guided me in the process of defining my poetical connection to the region: “The single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” I have always wanted to go beyond the single story, and poetry has been always a much better instrument for that. Adichie stresses the importance of a plurality of voices and stories to be collected in the attempt to understand a certain social or political phenomenon. Focusing on only one story is a result of power structures that restrict access to alternative stories. Moreover, she points to the power of stories and how they can shape perceptions, which transform into political practices or attitudes that can either break or repair the dignity of people. In the case of my research interest on the post-conflict countries in the Balkans, I was interested in collecting the diverse stories that became political tools which exclude and include parts of population in the political community, by granting or restricting their rights. It is expected that after a violent ethnic war, politics would be marked by divisive rhetoric and lack of cooperation and that for almost every decision each side has its “version of the story.” In such a tensed context, the strategy of blame-shifting is most often used to distort political realities. Different ethnicities attach contradictory meanings to the same political realities which complicates the puzzle of post-conflict transformation in the Western Balkans. For an external observer, this symbolic process of constructing parallel realities of discourse can raise multiple challenges. This makes it very hard for an ‘outsider’ to understand the nuances of that particular political setting and to avoid ‘taking sides’ by favoring some stories against the others.

EuropeNow Your research activity focuses mainly on two entities, namely Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo—two multiethnic societies, marked by conflict and socio-political reconstruction. In your career, you managed to shed a new light on the Balkans — not only you untangled the political threads of Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosovo. What makes the two be considered key case-studies for Europeanization aficionados?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă The two post-conflict countries that emerged from the dissolution of Yugoslavia are, after 20 years since the end of the war, the most problematic and dysfunctional countries in the region. EU’s institutional transformation was profoundly marked by the tragic events that occurred after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The war in Bosnia (1992-1995) and the war in Kosovo (1999) were a catalyst for efforts towards a European foreign and security policy that crystallized only later in 2003, under the guidance of Javier Solana.

I believe that the permanent political crises that marked the Western Balkans for the last decade require a permanent update and a dynamic research design that could grasp the often-contradictory meanings of its transformation on the EU integration path. I was motivated to continue my research on the region and to explore both the cases of Bosnia and Kosovo by the recent events that marked at the same time the Balkans and the EU. Political turmoil, stagnation and lack of progress in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria in the Western Balkan countries require alternative solutions to the established path of the EU enlargement process. Although a look at past successes, failures and unintended consequences of EU policies in the Western Balkans could be useful for designing better responses to secessionist claims and armed conflict in Europe, careful attention has to be devoted to the study of each case’s particularities. Looking at the massive street protests that started in Bosnia back in 2014, with the Colourful revolution in North Macedonia back in 2015 and even current protests against state measures during the COVID-19 Crisis in Belgrade in 2020, the region entered a new “era of dissent” and this proves that citizens are willing to mobilize against corrupt politicians and to condemn ethno-national politics. This is a very important shift. When discussing the more difficult post-conflict cases of “un-proclaimed protectorates” or post-conflict “captive states” like Bosnia and Kosovo) Europeanization is both a desirable and a contested process in the eyes of domestic actors. Thus, this process became in itself an ‘“experiment” for EU’s enlargement policy and new tools had been designed in the last years because of the lack of positive results. I tried to get a closer look at the possible existence of a “war of meanings” is needed, especially when established scholars defined politics in the Balkans as “war by other means.” The main findings of my latest research on Kosovo and Bosnia’s EU integration conundrums provide a more contextualized understanding of Europeanization in post-conflict environments and offer opportunity to reflect on the importance of national identities for the politicization of EU conditionality. In the end, the research shows that the EU enlargement criteria cannot easily alter the power games of ethno-nationalism that still structure the political interactions in Kosovo and Bosnia.

The comparative case study of EU policy in Bosnia and Kosovo as weak and post-conflict countries also shows the counterproductive impact of “the politics of enlargement.” Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo” notwithstanding the latter’s declaration of independence in 2008—remain internationally administered territories. The two cases were treated as “exceptions” by EU policy makers when applying a combination of enlargement policy and foreign and security policy instruments, as their post-conflict political situation is very challenging (being considered in the literature as weak states/ limited statehood/ semi-protectorates). In this context, EU had to adapt along the way in a process of “learning by doing” policy-making. The theoretical aim of the study is to contribute to the extensive literature on Europeanization by defining the main characteristics of this process taking place in a post-conflict environment (generating a definition of the term “post-conflict Europeanization”).

EuropeNow Does this process of Europeanization connect in any way with this inherited symbol of the Other of Europe that you were discussing in the beginning? Is current geopolitical game in the region still trapped in its excessive history as Churchill was saying (“The Balkans produces more history than they can consume”)?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă Of course it does. The process of Europeanization, understood as a complex process of norm transfer from the EU to candidate countries, is therefore expected to face additional obstacles in a post-conflict country. These features make the study of the political realities of the EU conditionality in post-conflict settings like Bosnia and Kosovo particularly challenging, which motivated my special interest in the topic. The problem is that EU’s policy in the Balkans moved from an agenda dominated by security issues related to the war and its legacies to an agenda focused on the perspective of the Western Balkan states’ accession to the European Union, to which there has been a formal political commitment on the part of all EU Member States since the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003.

When discussing Europeanization, we often refer to the idea of the transformative power of Europe on candidate countries. The fact that the Balkans need to be “Europeanized” is directly connected with renegotiating the relations between centre and periphery. Based on the idea that the enlargement policy is a dynamic process of institutional, normative and symbolic interactions with a wide set of actors, it is also important to focus on the impact of EU’s policies on post-conflict candidate countries. As such, it is very challenging to see how the many ex-Yugoslav countries determined the politicization of EU conditionality, which in the last years became visible mostly in EU rhetoric rather than in concrete elements on the ground. There is an assumption that the countries from the WB are inter-dependent and EU’s policy towards them implies taking into consideration various impacts that take the form of “domino effects.” Moreover, the success of the Balkans is also the success of EU foreign policy. But the same holds true for the region’s failure.

EuropeNow In Romania there is a visible low interest in the Balkan region – there are few researchers specialized in this field, there are almost no courses for undergrads or postgraduate students that focus on this topic. Usually only the Eastern neighborhood receives attention. As Romania is a country in the direct vicinity of this region and we have so many geopolitical common points of interest, why do you think there is still limited interest? Do you believe you can contribute to making more experts interested in the area as it happened in my case?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă You are right, we are in a very paradoxical position—Romania should be one of the most active countries in the Balkans. Of course, historically there are other countries in the EU that have been more involved. We cannot play the same role as Italy or Austria for example, we should be realistic. In my internship experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I saw that the Balkans receive actually a lot of attention in our policy making, so I wouldn’t say that they are neglected. But in terms of research interests and specialization for future experts, I believe that we have a low interest also because job opportunities on these topics are not perceived as being very many. I have tried to raise more attention to the region after I started teaching a course on Eastern Europe at MA level. I invite students to reflect if the Balkans are a form of East. Since I started to coordinate the Center of European Studies in our University I also started projects in cooperation with universities from the Balkans, I started to be invited to interact with students from the region and teach there and also other students came in Erasmus programs to Bucharest[4]. I believe that in the last two years we have managed to create more interest in the Balkans among our students, we have published more consistently on the topic and this is visible in the number of interactions with the region. It gets better and better. Of course, I contributed to this also in the cultural field, through photo exhibitions of our students’ perceptions when traveling to the region or film festivals.  Thus, the number of locals (re)discovering the Balkans continues to expand. But we cannot point just to academia for this achievement, as a great deal of cultural events focused on the Balkans in recent years. One of them holds a special place in my heart—and that is the anthropological film festival Culese din Balcani (Tales from the Balkans) organized by the National Peasants Museum in Bucharest. This autumn there will the 5th edition. Music, photos, movies, art in general can depict the region in its entire complexities far beyond the cultural stereotypes, so this became a valuable instrument for a better understanding of the Balkans as part of Europe, not as the Other of Europe. I believe that such events can shed a new light on the region’s cultural diversity and myself, as a researcher, educator and writer, I believe that culture play a crucial role in “rebranding” the Balkans. As the most pro-European country in the region, and a neighbor of the Western Balkans, Romania could be a strong advocate for the region’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Nevertheless, the local political interest for this region is often reduced to official declarations of support and small cross-border cooperation initiatives. In these circumstances I think that Romania could become a more active player in the region by using more public diplomacy tools such as cultural projects and direct investments in local communities in the Balkans that could have a better impact.

EuropeNow How do you see the future of Balkan studies in Romania and in general? Can you share something about your future research / cultural projects on the region?

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă I think that the Balkans will remain a vital point for the future of Europe so it is definitely worth researching. My intention is to involve my PhD students and MA students in research projects that focus on the region, to give them the possibility to discover their potential and test their own biases. Our Center for European Studies at SNSPA will continue to dedicate a special attention to the EU integration of the Western Balkans, and promote an inclusive and critical approach of these subjects. Moreover, I am now preparing a book of essays and impressions from my trips to the region, and also interviews with artists from the Balkans that is titled “The Balkan Paradox.” It will not be an academic book as my previous ones, but rather a more popular one focused on explaining current political and cultural realities of the area and de-bunking a series of myths that persist in public opinion.

Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă, PhD, is Lecturer and Director of the Centre of European Studies in the Department of International Relations and European Studies of National University of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest since 2016. She has a direct research interest in EU integration, Europeanization and post-conflict reconstruction of the Western Balkans. She is an Alumnus of the European Fund for the Balkans and Future Lab Europe. She published numerous academic articles and policy papers focused on the process of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. Since January 2018 she has been included by the European Commission’s Representation Office in Romania in the “Club Europa’”– a network of highly qualified policy experts.

Dragoș Ioniță is a PhD candidate and junior researcher in the Department of International Relations and European Studies of National University of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA). His main field of interest is the process of Europeanization of the Western Balkans as part of the EU enlargement process of the countries in the region. As member of the Department’s Centre of European Studies, he was actively involved in co-organizing several events and conferences on the EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans and is currently part of several research academic networks that aim to bring EU policies closer to the general public.

References:

[1] Miruna Troncotă, “About the gains of losing earrings in Bosnia”, Sarajevo Times, May 3, 2013, available online https://www.sarajevotimes.com/about-the-gains-of-losing-earrings-in-bosnia/.

[2] The book “Bosnia and Herzegovina. A critical case study of europeanization” is available on the publisher’s website: https://tritonic.ro/isbn-Bosnia_and_Herzegovina_A_critical_case_study_of_europeanization-978-606-8571-36-2.htm

[3] The book “Post-conflict Europeanization and the war of meanings. The Challenges of EU Conditionality in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo” is available on the publisher’s website: https://tritonic.ro/isbn-Post_conflict_Europeanization_and_the_war_of_meanings%3Cbr%3EThe_Challenges_of_EU_Conditionality_in_Bosnia_Herzegovina_and_Kosovo-978-606-749-087-9.htm

[4] One example of such activities is LEAP Project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, with the aim of exploring how the EU integration is taught, learned, experienced and contested at the EU periphery, specifically in Turkey, Romania, Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine. More information about the project can be found on the official website: http://www.leapjmnetwork.com/

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