Political Parties and European Integration
Paul G. Lewis: Recent Evolutions of European Parties East and West: Towards Cartelisation?
A survey of recent trends in party development shows broad and quite rapidly established similarities between Central and Western Europe with, however, some significant differences and particular characteristics in the Central European institutions. This view is supported by recent studies of models of party development, electoral systems, modes of funding and issues of cartelisation. Discrepancies in party evolution in Western and Central/Eastern Europe are often traced to differing relations between state and civil society, and such patterns have also been used as basis for the formulation of widely used models of party development. Much discussion has, however, tended to focus on the relation of civil society to party development and it is only the cartel model that attaches prime significance to the relation of contemporary parties with state structures and processes. Closer examination of the role of the state, the nature of party development and party funding in Poland suggests that, to the extent that cartel developments can be identified in Central Europe, they take a rather different form than those discussed in the West European context and involve different aspects of party development and operation. The specific form of cartelisation identified can also be seen as a distinctive response to the particular demands of party development in the Central European context. The form of cartelisation seen in Poland can be interpreted as functional alternative to the prominence of the ‘party in central office’ detected in other countries of Central Europe and confirm that important national, as well as regional, differences can be seen in recent patterns of party evolution.
Doh C. Shin and Peter McDonough: Nostalgia for Communism vs. Democratic Legitimation in Eastern and Central Europe
More than a decade has passed since democracy replaced the system of Communist rule in East and Central Europe. The democratic transformation of Communist states in this region has significantly enhanced political freedom and civil rights, evidenced in their improved ranking on the Freedom House scale. According to New Democracies Barometer (NDB) surveys, however, a substantial proportion of East and Central European mass publics are still reluctant to embrace democracy as “the only game in town” or the most preferred system of governance. Why is it that these publics refuse to endorse the new system of democratic governance? Is it because they still remain attached to the old way of life under Communism? If it is, what aspect of Communist life, political or economic, keeps them from moving toward and embracing democratic governance? The paper identifies three distinct types of nostalgia for the old regime in East and Central Europe with the NDB IV surveys conducted in 1996. Both political and economic nostalgia for the Communist past constitute a significant deterrent to the legitimation of the fledgling democratic political order. As compared to the economic system of the Communist past, however, nostalgia for the Communist political system turns out to be more potent in slowing the process of democratic legitimation.
Jerzy J. Wiatr and Katarzyna Gilarek: The Central European Nation-States approaching Integrated Europe
Fundamental changes in Central Europe at the end of the XXth century affect the region’s prospects in the integrated Europe of near future. The formerly socialist states have reformed their political systems and their economies, changed their geopolitical position and in several cases became nation-states which replaced the former multi-national structures. While all of them face serious challenges, the overall record of Central Europe (including the three Baltic states) is considerably better than that of the South-Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. Democracy has been consolidated and market economy works. Three of the Central European states have joined NATO and several others are likely candidates for membership. Most of the Central European post-socialist states are in the advaned stage og negotiations for the membership in the European Union. Integration involves the question of the role of nation-states. After reviewing the discussion on this issue, the authors conclude that European integration will not and should not mean doing away with the national identities and that nation-states will play a significant role in the integrated Europe. Their traditions will enrich the future European identity and their peripherial status will gradually disappear as the result of the processes of economic and cultural integration.
Imre Lévai: Sub-Regional Integration of East European small States in the European Union Political Economy of Eastward Enlargement of the EU*
Regionalisation in the world system can be seen as asymmetrical globalisation, generating the space-time continuum of hierarchical centre – sub-centre – semi-periphery – periphery relationships under world capitalist order. The central, sub-central, semi-peripheral and peripheral regions appear on the respective and generally overlapping sections of that continuum and they can and do change places according to the mobilisation of their internal natural and human resources and to the alteration of the external power relations. Consequently, regions are distinct, historically evolved sub-systems with their own centres, sub-centres, semi-peripheries and peripheries within the global system of capitalism, the place and part of which are determined by internal and external political and economic forces. Shortly and pointedly: regions show self-similar hierarchical patterns in the complex world system. The East European pattern of accumulation transformed into an appendix-like structure, resembling the Latin American semi-periphery, and it bears the marks of relatively intense and lopsided foreign economic orientation (“dependent” accumulation) and a relatively great part of informal activities (“primitive” accumulation) in the economic circulation. In place of an asymmetrical dependence mainly on the Russian and partly on the Rhenish sub-centres before the 1989–93 “Small Transformation”, the East European semi-periphery from the Baltic to the Balkans is now dependent mainly on the Rhineland sub-centre and partly on the Anglo-Saxon “hard core”. The Central and East European countries never ceased to nurture some kind of jealousy towards each other and, as the point of Eastward enlargement of the EU appeared to come closer and closer, different stands became more and more articulated. However, they are not sufficiently strong to forgo the advantages of sub-regional co-operation but they are sufficiently strong to form a definite group of common interests and to grow into a sub-centre in the semi-periphery.
Ladislav Kováč: Natural History of Communism – Pliability of human beings and immutability of human nature – Part I.
Communism can be conceived of as a large experiment, in which a number of fundamental hypotheses on human nature and on social dynamics have been subjected to test and eventually falsified. The theoretical basis of Communism, Marxism, had been a logical outgrowth of European thought. The evolutionary trajectory of Communism resulted from its Marxist initial premises. It proceeded through two distinct stages, the orthototalitarian and the paratotalitarian ones. The post-Communist transition may be considered as the third, the highest stage of Communism. By reducing cultural polymorphism and destroying evolutionary arisen institutions Communism peeled off cultural layers and denuded humans to their biological core: humans are mythophilic, group-confined, fearful and hyperemotional animals. The monstrosity of Communism resulted from its institutions, not from its actors. The post-Communist situation seems to justify a conclusion that what human individuals, the surviving guinea-pigs of the Communist laboratory, have deserved, offenders, victims, and bystanders alike, is boundless compassion.
Ladislav Kováč: Natural History of Communism – Pliability of human beings and immutability of human nature – Part II.
Communism was an attempt at a rational construction of society, founded on false theoretical premises. Traditional institutions, products of spontaneous evolutionary processes and embodying evolutionary knowledge, should have been smashed up and replaced by institutions created by rational design. Instead of achieving rational institutions, spontaneous dynamics of society under Communism gave rise to institutions that, by their irrationality, had no precedent in history. A political and economic system arose lacking virtually any feedback. The Leninist Party may be considered as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The situation of an individual may be typified by a dilemma of the Communist scientist: whichever option of those available he/she may have chosen, his/her behavior remained inconsistent. Social regression was gradually returning the part of humankind living under Communism down to the level of social life in small non-anonymous groups in the savanna. Evil in the totalitarian system may be banal, as far as human individuals are concerned. However, the evil of totalitarian institutions was not banal. Indeed, it had inhuman, monstrous proportions. With cultural sciences, which aims at understanding human nature and dynamics of society, lagging behind the spectacular progress of natural sciences, humankind is entering a unique, precarious stage of its evolution. Will humankind progress quickly enough in its knowledge of human nature and of society to be able to master its own institutions? This may be the fatal question of the 21st century.
Marjan Brezovšek and Miro Haček: Slovenia on the Road to the EU. The new civil service system
The public administration reform is an on going process taking place in the EU member countries as well as in the CEE region countries. It should be handled in single segments of improvement and not in all aspects. The reform is a necessary consequence of the fast social development, globalisation and association into the international integrations. In this context, the state is gaining a new position, where the regulative and partners` roles are replacing the regulative one. Especially countries in the transition are entering the international integration processes and they must achieve a certain level of development and abilities of qualitative and effective co-operation with other countries and international community. The role of public administration is very important in the process of the Slovenian accession to the EU because we need to develop and adapt the administration systems to the point that they will be able to work in the framework of European administration integration. The civil servants reform is a crucial part of administrative reform. The main aim of the paper is to find answers on how the civil servants system reform and the process of accession to the EU are linked, and whether Slovenia will adopt the “European” civil servants system after entering the EU. Regardless the European dimension of this question, it is necessary to emphasize the component of the country’s inner needs. In accordance with this, the process of accession should be taken in account for rebuilding a modern and successful civil servants system.
Károly Szerencsés: Inter-Party Conferences in Hungary 1945-1947 – (The limitations of the Parliamentarism)
The inter-party conference is an important venue for the cooperation of the parties in Parliament, especially the ones within a governing coalition. Nevertheless, the institutionalization of this forum poses a real danger – especially in case of a disproportionate, “great” coalition – that Parliament loses its decision-making role and simply approves the resolutions drafted at the inter-party conferences. This way the role members of the Parliament and the factions play becomes insignificant and merely functions as a tool to guarantee the majority of votes in the legislature. Therefore, the top leaders acquire an enormous amount of power without limitations. In this power mechanism the party leaders try to force discipline on the faction at all cost, which may cause serious troubles within the party (except for the military-style organizational parties where such problems rarely exist). At the same time, the inter-party conference completely shuts out the public from the forum of decision-making, which allows the participants to use a whole array of otherwise ethically and politically unacceptable methods.