Looking back at this long process of scrutinising the European Union’s steps north, I realise that I am indebted to so many sources of inspiration as well as diversified, indispensable support.
First of all, I am most grateful to four friends who have read and commented on substantial parts of the book and whose humour, traits of character, expertise and personality helped me to survive this story unscathed: Wulf Reiners, Adam Stępień, Stefan Steinicke and Andreas Østhagen.
Aside from these people a wide range of friends and colleagues have joined me on this voyage. People I have either met in one of the many places I have lived and worked in, or folks that have just always been part of my life. Yet, to name every single one would depart from tradition and end in a three-page-long acknowledgement.
My deep and honest gratitude goes to the entire community of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network EXACT, the crew of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo, the scholars at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and all the friends I made when living in the Bay Area, Brussels, Cologne, Edinburgh and Oslo. I further wish to thank my ‘Arctic family’, my colleagues and friends – old and new – from The Arctic Institute. And, of course, to all my old friends back home in Austria, spread over Europe or enjoying life in North America and Hawaii.
Last but definitely not least, to my mum Sigrid Raspotnik, without whom all this would not have been possible in the first place. To the best brother there is: Thomas Raspotnik. To my dad Arnold Raspotnik, the intellectually stimulating and left-wing discussions we continue to have, and his wife Eva Maria Happe. To my step-sister Raphaela and her family.
Finally, a concluding thanks goes to myself. For eventually not going insane and for finishing this seemingly never-ending process.