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Uroš Ćemalović

Uroš Ćemalović is Professor of Law and Public Administration at the Faculty of Law of the John Naisbitt University, Belgrade, Serbia. He received his PhD in Law from the University of Strasbourg. Uroš has thirteen years’ professional and research experience in intellectual property law, political sciences, public administration and international affairs, both in private and public sectors, with a strong focus on scientific and educational issues; he earned his Master’s degrees from both University Paris-Dauphine and University of Nancy, France, where he also attended École Nationale d’Administration, French State School for Public Administration. He served for seven years as EU Law Harmonisation Adviser at the National Assembly of Serbia; he was also an independent expert in various cross-border educational projects and legal consultant of numerous international organisations.

The Role of the Membership in the European Union and of its Legal System in the Prevention of Nationalistic Discourse: The Case of the Western Balkans

The discourse of hatred, which started in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has had disastrous consequences for all newly independent states in the Western Balkans. This was especially the case for ex-Yugoslav nations, whose co-existence in a federal state had ended with a fratricidal war, having as its main vectors the discourse of nationalistic myths, self-victimisation and revival of historical frustrations dating from the First and Second World War. All these phenomena, as well as the resulting tensions, have lately been revived in the context of a global economic and migratory crisis, creating a vague of what can be designated as a new nationalism. Moreover, the narcissism of small differences between the South-Slavic nations – who share not less than language, common historical background and more than 70 years of life in a common state – significantly contributes to the revival of the nationalistic discourse.

For at least two decades, the perspective of membership in the European Union (EU) and its attributes often nominated as ‘soft power’ or ‘force of attraction”’ have had a calming positive effect on inter-ethnic relations in the Western Balkans. However, a refurbished nationalism that is now arising in all ex-Yugoslav states often uses an openly anti-EU discourse, while the perspectives based on liberalism, integration and cosmopolitanism are undoubtedly in retreat. On the other hand, the membership in the EU (for Slovenia and Croatia) or its perspective (for all other states of the region) – as well as the impact of the EU’s legal system on the internal social and political situation – are still playing a significant role in the prevention of nationalistic sentiments and discourse.

The proposed paper would seek to go behind and beyond the analysis of purely political and legal phenomena, arguing in favour of adopting a new paradigm that would reconcile the legitimate patriotic sentiments and the active prevention of nationalism.