Legal Language and EU Integration. The Case of the Western Balkans

Aleksandra Čavoški

Abstract


This paper investigates whether the Western Balkans, in particular four case study countries of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro) can be seen as a particular region in terms of legal language and legal culture. By examining legal language and legal translation within the EU accession process, this paper argues that nation state formation and ethnic conflict had little impact on legal languages and cultures which remained very similar in these four countries after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, through analysis based on neo-functionalist theory of EU integration, this paper explains how legal translation, though not a part of a deliberate EU enlargement strategy, becomes a vehicle of further EU integration as a result of political spill-over. It is particularly relevant in the case of the Western Balkans whereby both the European Commission and the sub-national bureaucracies make a full use of a common legal language and culture to their advantage to facilitate the accession process through the lens of legal translation. The paper concludes that the four countries of the Western Balkans can be viewed as a particular and unique region resulting from a shared legal language and culture which may have potential implications for the EU’s policy of multilingualism.

Cite as: Čavoški, JLL 7 (2018), 70–96, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2018.070


Keywords


Western Balkans, EU integration, legal language and culture, neo-functionalism, legal translation, European Commission, sub-national technocrats

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14762/jll.2018.070

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