Political fragmentation as unintended consequence of external governance: the case of Moldova
The process of EU integration is a prominent and well-research-region building project. By launching the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership it has been expanded to a number of countries outside the EU. However, Russia’s and the EU’s increasingly conflicting integration endeavours have led to a shift of how scholars and policy makers understand the effects of Europeanization of the so-called ‘contested neighbourhood’. This shift stems from the conviction that the domestic political instability in the neighbourhood countries cannot be untangled from the growing rivalry between Moscow and Brussels. The dissertation draws upon constructivist and post-structuralist approaches to region-building to place the interplay of a regional security discourse and domestic discourse in the focus of a conceptualization of external impact. It understands norms diffusion in a transversal way, not predicated on the separation between the inside and outside (of the state) but rather on the relations between agents operating in different networks of knowledge production.
The paper argues that the competing region-building endeavours on the bases of EU and Russian soft power significantly altered the processes of foreign policy identity formation in Moldova starting from the early 2000s. Empirically it examines, first, how outside-in representations are utilized in a domestic discourse in their domestic struggle and second, how symbolic power provided by external actors alters the domestic field of foreign policy expertise production. Both dimensions lead to the creation of rather rigid ideational networks in which in which durable patterns of amity and enmity are reproduced. Thus, the dissertation argues that external impact creates ideational and institutional incentive structures that lead to a centrifugal instead of a centripetal momentum of foreign policy identity formation. This serves as an explanation why Moldova finds itself in an ongoing foreign policy identity crisis.
Regional powers such as the EU or Russia as well as the neighbourhood countries shape the regional security discourse according to their preferences and identities. In particular, this discourse is analysed by the EU’s and Russia’s cognitive understanding of security in general and particularly towards the contested neighbourhood. What is the substance of norms and the principles of security, what is the role of other states within a regional security architecture and what are representations of insecurities and conflict resolution? the case of Moldova’s foreign policy identity formation is selected to study the interplay of the regional discourse and the domestic discourse.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has often been blamed of inefficiency in fostering peace and stability in the contested neighbouhood. Although some studies identified the geopolitical context as a constraining factor of conflict resolution, EU revisions of the ENP and the Security Strategy have failed to produce solutions to this problem.
The intended research project examines how EU-Russia relations contribute to further fragmentation of the political landscape in the shared neighbourhood countreis. It argues that the ENP is unlikely to produce its intended security-related outcome if no particular attention to the geopolitical context is paid.
Nov 2016 – Sep 2017 University of Geneva, Switzerland
Oct 2017 – Aug 2018 Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Sep 2018 – Feb 2019 Union of International Associations (www.uia.org), Brussels, Belgium
Mar 2019 – Oct 2019 University of Geneva, Switzerland
DEGREES AND TITLES
Joint master’s degree in South-East European Studies
University of Graz (Austria) and University of Belgrade (Serbia), 2015
Bachelor’s degree in Political Science
Universität München (LMU), Germany, 2012
- Since 2015: editoral assistant of the Review of Central and East European Law (RCEEL)
- 2014 – 2015: study visit to Belgrade, Serbia, PENTA Join EU-SEE grant
- 2011 – 2013: residency in Romania, studies at Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca as well as internships at the Austrian Embassy Bucharest and the German-language newspaper ADZ
- EU external relations
- European Neighbourhood Policy
- Conflict management
- International crisis management and peacekeeping
- Wolfschwenger, Johann and Kevin L. Young. 2018 (forthcoming). Multi-causality and equifinality. in: Morin, Jean-Frédéric, Christian Olsson and Ece Özlem Atikcan (eds). Key Concepts in Research Methods. Oxford: Routledge.
- Wolfschwenger, Johann. 2017. The EU Governance Approach to the Transnistrian Conflict: A Powerful Tool for Conflict Management? in: Bellak, Blanka, Jaba Devdariani, Benedikt Harzl and Lara Spieker (eds). Governance in Conflict. Selected Cases in Europe and Beyond. Vienna: Lit-Verlag.
- Wolfschwenger, Johann. 2014. The Russian Dimension in the Transnistrian Conflict – Possibilities for Conflict Resolution. REEES Graz, Public Policy Research Paper, no. 4. online <http://unipub.uni-graz.at/reees/periodical/titleinfo/301654>.
BLOGS AND NEWSPAPERS
- Wolfschwenger, Johann. „Gut gemeint aber schlecht gemacht!“ – Die Östliche Partnerschaft der EU und ihre unbeabsichtigten Konsequenzen. CPD Poliy Blog. 7 November 2017. online <https://policyblog.uni-graz.at/2017/12/ostliche-partnerschaft-unbeabsichtigten-konsequenzen>.