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School of Law & Government

Liridona Veliu


Supervisor: Kenneth McDonagh; Gëzim Visoka 

Title of PhD Project: Back to the Future: Balkanization and the Euro-Atlantic Integration Processes of Western Balkans

Abstract: The long-tail of the Balkanization discourse still lingers even as the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have shifted their attention from an “intervention” to an “integration” approach towards the Western Balkans. The enlargements of the EU and NATO are seen as beneficial for both, the Balkans as well as the EU and NATO countries in bringing stability and security to the Western Balkan countries. The Balkans and balkanization on the other side, are part of a long-standing discourse of identity construction of otherness and stereotyping whose application has moved beyond the formal boundaries of the region, and are now used to convey, among others: ambiguity, abstruseness, differences, barbarism, tribalism, underdevelopment, non-cooperativeness, political, economic and territorial disintegration, fragmentation, parcelization, instability, unreliability, dehumanization and devastation of civilization.

By exposing how EU and NATO integration policies towards the Western Balkans continue to be underpinned by the balkanization discourse, the aim of this study is to produce recommendations for better Euro-Atlantic integration processes of Western Balkans. This will further enable the comparison of discourses of differences and otherness across Europe and beyond, and their impact on political and economic stability.


  • Master of Arts degree in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation (2014 – 2018) at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.            
  • Master of Advanced Studies degree in Peace and Conflict Transformation (2013 – 2014) at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
  • LLP Erasmus Exchange Program (2013 – 2013) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Sciences (2010 – 2013) at the South East European University, Tetovo, Macedonia.


  • Project Collaborator and Researcher/Teacher/Trainer (September 7, 2015 – present) of the Erasmus+ Project “Creation of the Graduate Curricula in Peace Studies in Georgia” at the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • Intern (March 1, 2016 – November 30, 2016) at the Novartis Business Services in Basel, Switzerland
  • Intern (June 5, 2015 – March 1, 2016) at the ABSM – Training and Counselling Canter for Immigrants in Basel, Switzerland.
  • Research Assistant (April 27, 2015 – May 28, 2015) at Malmö University in Malmö, Sweden.
  • Research Assistant (December 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013) at Swisspeace in Bern, Switzerland.
  • Intern (January 11, 2013 – February 12, 2013; October 3, 2011 – November 24, 2011) at the South East European University - Student service in Tetovo, Macedonia.
  • Intern (June 7, 2011 – August, 9 2011) at the Centre for Community Development in Kichevo, Macedonia.
  • Research Assistant (October 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010) for the dissertation project of Gülcan Akkaya – PhD candidate at the University of Luzern, Switzerland: Documenting the interviews for the PhD dissertation: “NGOS as Civil Society Actors: A Case Study of the Post-War Society in Kosovo.”

Publication in print:

McDonagh, K., & Veliu, L. (2017). Europe’s new Balkan problem or the Balkan’s new Europe problem: Terrorism and Radicalisation in the EU’s South Eastern borderlands. Defence Forces Review 2017, pp. 93-102.