Post-communist state transformations in Central and Eastern Europe have been accompanied by an upsurge of identity politics as newly-independent peoples sought to redefine themselves and their place in Europe. National unity has proved elusive in practice as new democracies have debated constitutional and territorial-administrative changes to prepare for the challenges of "returning to Europe" while at the same time integrating diverse historical regions and ethnic minorities. The case of regional reform and resurgent regional politics presented in this volume highlight the divergent concepts of statehood which have emerged as Central and East Europeans struggle to come to terms with the meaning of their statehood today. Competing models have been advocated in terms of their perceived conformity with national or local traditions and wider trends in modern European governance, but local interests and identities have challenged this emphasis on the imperatives of sovereignty, territorial unity and administrative efficiency.
The contributors investigate these pressing issues as new and tougher controls are enforced at the EU's emerging external borders, posing fresh challenges to national, regional and minority identities.