The fundamental objective of my dissertation is to explore whether and how “Europeanization” is an effective conflict resolution mechanism to produce sustainable solutions to cross-border ethno-nationalist conflicts at the periphery of the European Union, namely the Western Balkans. Accepting “Europeanization” as “an analytical concept used to examine the changes in domestic structures and policies that occur in response to policies and practices institutionalized at the European level” three levels of analysis will be explored: (a) the protection of minorities in the domestic legislative level, and (b) the resolution of inter-ethnic conflicts as a result of this democratization; and (c) whether this “Europeanization” at domestic level, namely adopting the norms of minority protection in the domestic level fosters a cooperation between the host-state and the neighbouring kin state as the neo-functional theories on European integration proposed. In other words, would “internal Europeanization” foster “external Europeanization” in the Western Balkans?
In order to assess the impact of “Europeanization” and evaluate the efficiency of these policies on the resolution of ethno-territorial cross-border conflicts which lie at the core of the antagonisms in this region of Western Balkans, three cases will be analysed all of which are centered on the question of “external minority”, that is “an ethnic group that, while residing in one state (the host-state) is related through shared cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics, which it wishes to preserve, and through kinship to the titular nation of another, often neighbouring state (the kin-state). These are the Albanian question in Western Macedonia; the Serbian question in Eastern Slavonia, Croatia; and the Hungarian Question in Vojvodina, Serbia and Montenegro.