Lessons from EU accession for Central Europe

Kay Lawson: Cleavages, Parties and Voters in Central Europe
The author analyzed the cleavages in the ideological sphere in Central Europe. She revisited the chapters of the famous book: “Cleavages, Parties and Voters: Studies from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania” (from 1999). The analysis contain in five parts:  A very brief explanation of the procedures and how they worked, a much longer summary of what the authors said about party and cleavage developments in these five nations, an assessment of the continued usefulness of cleavage theory for the discussion of parties today, an updated discussion of what she refer to as “Uncoupled Democracy”, and a few comments on what we can learn from these studies that is pertinent for the study of parties everywhere today. In these new democracies, the parties are newer and more plentiful, the voters have had long and bitter experience in sorting out political substance from chaff, and the need to effect change is more desperately felt than in most western democracies. Furthermore, there are numerous differences among the cases themselves, differences that the author has not chosen to highlight here, but which are amply apparent in the book.

Kenneth Ka-Lok Chan: Political Ideologies in Post-Communist Europe: Consensus or Disunity?
The aim of this paper is to explore the politics of ideology formation in relation to the emerging democracies and market economies in the post-Communist world. It will examine the formation of a multitude of ideological tendencies against the backdrop of de-Communization, marketization, democratization and European integration of the region. The basic premise of this preliminary study is that, contrary to the rhetoric that there is no alternative to a narrow, neo-liberal economic dogma, post-Communist transition has generated a distinctive ideological competition between socialist, neo-liberal and national-traditional concerns. The analysis sheds light on the conditions for the emergence and re-orientation of the various ideological tendencies at the level of political practice, and the prospects for consensus-building from the ideological perspective.

Árpád Gordos and Bálint Ódor: Beyond the Basic Phase of the IGC on the EU Constitution – Views from Hungary –
The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) did not come to fruition at the summit held in Brussels December 12-13 2003 under the Italian presidency. However, it is necessary to emphasise that the process re-designed in the frame of the IGC after October 2003 following the work of the Convention did not come to its end.  Although they were not completely successful, the talks did achieve progress by reinvigorating the European project with the equal participation of the twenty-five countries. The plenary, multilateral rounds of bargaining will resume after a pause serving for reflection and bilateral negotiations to prepare the ground for their final and decisive phase. The authors analysing the context of the IGC underline the urgency to take the required reform measures prior to the fifth enlargement. This was the primary aim of the latest great enterprise of the EU in the single process of the Convention-Intergovernmental Conference and through the adoption of a new constitutional framework, which lays down the values, and principles in a comprehensive legal construct creating a precedent in the history of regional economic integration. The article provides a selective list on the major achievements of the IGC specially equality of Member States and focuses on the priorities and achievements of Budapest.

Michael Dobbi and Dietrich Drüner: Legislative Alignments and Coalition Formation After EU Enlargement: A Preliminary Analysis
Upcoming EU enlargement is still plagued by fears that the accession of ten relatively poor member states will have a negative influence on legislative decision making. We have analysed such concerns on the basis of detailed information on the policy preferences of the current and future members. The analytical foundation for doing so is rational institutionalism, which allows us to dissect present and future decision making constellations into their essential building blocks: actors, preferences and decision making rules. Our analysis offers predictions on coalition formation in diverse policy areas in the Council of Ministers, which remains the most significant legislative institution in the EU. We illustrate how enlargement is likely to lead to a fortification of producer and agricultural interests and offer insights on the likely winners and losers of enlargement from a supranational legislative standpoint. While doing so, we assess the capacity of the underlying decision making rules to mitigate the danger of legislative gridlock.

Uroš Pinterič et all: Local Administrations in the Process of the Admission to the European Union
Globalization in the World reflects itself in various ways and exists on different levels. The key viewpoint of globalization in the case of Slovenia is the process of their admission to the Euroatlantic integrations. The authors in the article systematically represent the relation of Slovenian local administrations to their admission to the European Union, which represents the most concrete and powerful confrontation with globalization faced by Slovenia. Individual statistical regions represent findings, which are lead out of poll a questionnaire. At the same time, we can assert that the mediation role, which is, in the Slovenian case, the demand of the commune to the state, which gives the latter not a smaller, but a different meaning. It is possible to claim that there are considerable differences between individual regions, in regard to the adaptations made of their activities within the framework of EU, in regard to the evaluation of their own preparedness and the assistance of the state. On the level of the communes a progress was achieved in recent years in light of the integration in the EU, though there are still spots of lack of attraction and lack of knowledge, which is required for the undisturbed functioning within the framework of the European Union.

Matthew Longo: The European Union in the Balkans: Rotten Carrots?
In the final months of 2003 the transitional democracies of Croatia and Serbia held critical parliamentary elections and, in the case of Serbia, an unsuccessful presidential election as well. In all three cases, the conservative, nationalist parties won profound victories over the ruling centre-left coalitions. Thus, despite the billions of dollars of western investment and the golden carrot of EU integration dangling over the region, the populations of the two largest and most powerful ex-Yugoslav nations have taken a dramatic turn to the right. What is worse, evidence indicates that the current EU policy of interweaving economic incentives with political pressure is largely responsible. The object of this essay is to illustrate the different responses to EU pressure in Croatia and Serbia and analyse the effect that this pressure had on the outcomes of the election. I conclude that, while the governments of Croatia and Serbia appear to put forth a more moderate form of nationalism than was exhibited prior, within each country lurks a large and growing mass of radical voters – a situation that the actions of the international community has only served to exacerbate.