The issue of national minorities in post-Cold War Europe has warranted considerable scholarly attention with regard to security, democratization and regional integration. The literature has focused on how European integration compelled host states to comply with obligations to protect a national minority within their borders. Missing from this debate, however, is a more comprehensive analysis of whether European integration has had an effect on the wider geopolitical relationship between the host state and the kin state over national minorities. Has European integration served to dampen or to intensify the salience of nationalist politics between host and kin states? To address this gap the range of host state–kin state relations in Central and Eastern Europe is explored corresponding to whether both states are EU members (at least one may be a candidate country) compared with when one state remains external to the EU for the foreseeable future. It is argued that, despite much of the Europeanization literature, European integration can have an amplifying effect on nationalism regardless of whether kin states are existing members, acceding states or outside the process altogether.