Munich Personal RePEc Archive

European Identity and Identitarians in Europe

Handler, Heinz (2019): European Identity and Identitarians in Europe.

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This paper is concerned with social identity, particularly with the antagonism between European identity (which reflects the achievements of the integration process of the European Union) and the xenophobic Identitarian Movement (which strives for the disintegration of any supranational entity). The financial crisis of 2008 and the migration wave of 2015 have resulted in rapid structural changes and spreading uncertainty about future living standards in the EU. Extreme right-wing populist movements have capitalized on the anxieties emanating from these changes. They propagate a retreat from globalization and from the EU while advocating an inward-oriented policy with national borders against migration and cultural diversification. To forego a relapse into insular nationalism, the EU needs a revamped narrative that rests on the established liberal democracy and takes seriously the EU‘s motto United in Diversity. The elections of 2019 to the European Parliament provide a chance to rebuff anti-EU populism while strengthening forces attempting a democratic regeneration and further development of the European integration process.

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