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Identity at the EU Border

Julien Danero Iglesias

Since the enlargements of 2004 and 2007, the process of European integration has brought about major changes for the citizens of Central and Eastern Europe. Facing a process of rebordering (Albert & Brock, 1996), some of them may seem stuck behind a new "Iron Curtain". Indeed, citizens from non-EU countries encounter new obstacles to travel to EU countries that were previously easily accessible. This situation is the starting point of a research on border identities of the Romanian populations located on the "wrong" side of the EU border in Ukraine, Serbia and Moldova. Based on an analysis of the discourse of "ordinary citizens", the paper looks at transnationalism (Martinez, 1994) and at how the presence of the current border impacts on the identity of these populations compared to Romanians in Romania, the "National External Homeland" (Brubaker, 1996), especially since these populations are located in states that can be considered as "nationalising". Furthermore, the research nuances the "strategic efficacy of ethnicity" (Glazer and Moynihan, 1975) and determines how these populations' commitment to Romanian identity can be understood as an instrumental attachment to the extent that the prominence of their belonging to the Romanian nation, and in parallel, Romanian citizenship, allow them to enjoy the benefits of EU citizenship. This is topical given the present situation in Serbia where citizens no longer require a visa to enter the Schengen zone. Moldova could also soon take a closer step to the EU while Ukraine has possibly taken a backwards step.

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