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Integrating While Disintegrating? The Entangled Nature of Serbia’s EU Integration Process and its Struggle for Kosovo

European Union
Marina Vulovic
University of Helsinki
Marina Vulovic
University of Helsinki

In my PhD thesis, I investigate the counter-secession strategies of the Serbian Government regarding Kosovo, as part of the country’s EU integration process. Rather than focusing on the impact of EU integration on secession, or the consequences of secession for EU integration of Serbia, I explore their interdependency and mutual reinforcement. In the case of Serbia, EU integration has indeed shaped the way the Kosovo issue has been handled so far; however, the Kosovo question has also shaped the modes of EU integration for Serbia, as it plays a crucial role in the country’s political and cultural life. This is evident in the still unresolved final status of Kosovo, an issue of dispute even between EU member states, but also in the still ongoing Brussels Dialogue, which demonstrates Serbia’s commitment to preserve its territorial integrity while pursuing the path of EU integration. In my thesis, I show this interdependency through the analysis of public discourse of Serbian Government officials since 2007, when the Ahtisaari plan was presented, as well as the country’s institutional practices, mirrored in different resolutions, laws, and the establishment of political platforms and government bodies. I apply the theoretical framework of post-foundational discourse theory and transculturalism, while I utilize post-foundational discourse analysis as my methodology. In doing so, I make an attempt at pointing to the interconnectedness of discourse and institutional practices not only within Serbia, but also the entanglements of these discourses and practices with decisions of international and regional actors, particularly the EU
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