The Trouble with "Returning to Europe:" New EU Members' Reluctant Embrace of Minority Rights and Nuclear Safety


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


Department of Government


This dissertation studies the mismatch between the social and political realities in Eastern Europe and the normative change demanded by EU enlargement. It focuses on the minority rights norm, which was more likely to be opposed at the societal level, and the nuclear safety norm facing primary opposition from governments. Empirically, it examines crucial cases in each issue area. Minority rights posed considerable challenges for Slovakia, which is juxtaposed with the more successful case of Lithuania to show societal discourse about minorities as the key determinant of success. In connection to nuclear safety, this project focuses on the behavior of the Czech, Lithuanian, and Slovak governments to argue that the nature of their relations with neighboring states determined their attitudes towards nuclear energy.