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This paper focuses on perceptions of the European Union (EU) and external actors (such as the United States, Russia, and Turkey) in six countries of the Western Balkans (WB) and Croatia in a comparative perspective. We present data generated by public opinion polls and surveys in all countries of that region in order to illustrate growing trends of EU indifferentism in all predominately Slavic countries of the region. In addition, there is an open rejection of pro-EU policies by significant segments of public opinion in Serbia and in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia-Herzegovina. On the contrary, there is much enthusiasm and support for the West in general and the EU in particular in predominately non-Slavic countries, Kosovo and Albania. We argue that the WB as a region defined by alleged desire of all countries to join the the EU is more of an elite concept than that shared by the general population, which remains divided over the issue of EU membership. In explaining reasons for such a gap we emphasise a role of interpretation of the recent past, especially when it comes to a role the West played in the region during the 1990s.

affiliations in favour of larger general audiences, proclaiming themselves independent ( Nord, 2008 ). Moreover, the journalistic ideal in Finland strongly favours impartiality and objectivity. This is evident in the Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS) For detailed account of study methodology, see WJS (2018) . investigation of Finnish journalistic culture. Asked about perceived influences on journalistic work in Finland, journalists reported that censorship had the least effect on their work (73% stated it had no effect), followed closely by various external actors, such as

–2011 . Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV. Hitchcock, W., 2003. The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945 to the Present . New York: Anchor Books. Holbrooke, R., 1999. To End a War . New York: Random House. Hough, P., 2004. Understanding global security . London: Routledge. Jović, D., 2018. Accession to the European Union and Perception of External Actors in the Western Balkans. Croatian International Relations Review , 24(83): 6-32. Juncos, A. E., 2013. EU Foreign and Security Policy in Bosnia – The Politics of Coherence and Effectiveness

. "Studying a negative external actor: Russia's management of stability and instability in the ‘Near Abroad’." Democratization 16, no. 5 (October 2009): 922-944. U.S. Department of State. "Democracy" // U. S. General Accounting Office. "Foreign Assistance: Harvard Institute for International Development's Work in Russia and Ukraine." Report to the Chairman, Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives (November 1996) // Wallander, Celeste A. "The Russian Political System and U

Integration and Transformation in the Western Balkans: Europeanization or Business as Usual? 3–22. Abingdon: Routledge. Elbasani, A. (2014, June 17): EU’s ‘new approach’, democratization and the problem of stateness in theWB: availableat (1 July 2020). Elbasani, A. (2017): Judiciary as a mechanism of state capture: external actors, party patronage and informality: available at (1

, • Meetings with people representing key external actors, • Events, • Trainings, workshops, • Internships, • Specialist advice, • Meetings within task groups, • Meetings within project groups, • Meetings within different forms of cooperation 6 ICT • Platform for communication, • Profile on social networks, • Platform for collecting and selecting information, • Platform for resource exchange, • Educational portal, • Platform for placing group orders, • Joint online sale, • Visual identification system, • Specialised software, • Platform for cooperation management Source

, T., Dandashly A., 2015a. Responses to the “Arabellions”: The EU in Comparative Perspective, Journal of European Integration , Volume 37, 2015 – Issue 1, pp. 1–17. Börzel, T., A. Risse, T., Dandashly A., 2015b. The EU, External Actors, and the Arabellions: Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing. Journal of European Integration , Volume 37, 2015 – Issue 1, pp. 135–153. Brattberg, E., Rhinard M., 2012. The EU and US as International Actors in Disaster Relief. Bruges Political Research Papers / Cahiers de recherche politique de Bruges , No 22, pp. 1–36. Bretherton, C

latent "feeling of endangerment ..., neglect or disadvantage ..., where there is always also something rebellious in there: them up there as colonial authorities in the Hamburg Town Hall and [us] here" (Interview H-ER 17). As an external actor the IBA thus entered a field of tension characterised by the island existence of the inhabitants and, on the part of local actors, strongly influenced by perceptions that are not only related to fundamental threats (like the flooding hazard presented by the natural environment) but that have also long regarded external actors

, including personal traits of political leaders4, performance of government5 and opposition6, role of civil society7 and institutional legacies8. Slightly less research has been devoted to the impact of external actors, such as the European Union (EU) and Russia.9 Several studies have examined post-revolution policies of the United States, but those are limited to the Georgian case. Mitchell argued that the George W. Bush administration made a mistake by putting too much trust in democratic intentions of the Saakashvili government and redirecting U.S. assistance

). Benková, Livia. 2018. “Current Developments in Central Europe Regarding the Involvement of the Main External Actors.” In: Livia Benková, Apolonija Rihtaric, and Velina Tchakarova, eds., Will the EU Lose the East? Vienna: Austria Institute for European and Security Policy, pp. 5-23. Bevins, Vincent. 2018. “New Malaysian Government Steps Back from Spending, Chinese Projects.” In Washington Post (May 30). Online: