Central European lessons from history and EU accession

Richard R. Weiner: Discourse and Argument in Instituting the Governance of Social Law
This article studies the emergence of social rights and social law as an ontology of institutional facts by which actors can be induced to share standards of self governance, and be involved in creative argumentation and novel practice.  Out of an institutionalist analysis of this immanent tradition, we can comprehend inherent legitimations and make them explicit. Historical institutionalism (HI) tends to concentrate on retrieving traces of paths rather than reflecting on the processes involved in paths taken or untaken. What HI finds in the institutional trajectory of normative unfolding is not idealism but discursive selectivity–a dialogic tension between the exogenous selectivity of incentive and opportunity structures and the endogenous claims of legitimation inherent in institutional/institutionalizing practices. Reflecting on the theorizing of Jurgen Habermas can help HI with its persistent troubles with ideas and committedness. On the other hand, HI poses a final way out of Habermas’s persistent and unnecessary (1) equating the problem of strategy with purely instrumental reasoning; and (2) separating the realm of normativity and law from institutional facts. This dialectical confronting a structuralist HI with a testing of legitimation claims in discourse theoretical terms we can call critical institutionalism (CI).

Bojan Todosijevic and Zsolt Enyedi: The Meaning of Authoritarianism: The role of aggressiveness, alienation and anxiety
The paper contributes to the debate on the conceptual status of authoritarianism by examining its relationships with aggressiveness, anxiety and alienation. The analysis is based on two surveys, one on college students and another one on adults, conducted in the city Subotica, Vojvodina: Yugoslavia/Serbia, in 1995 and 1997 respectively. Three factors of authoritarianism – authoritarian aggressiveness, punitiveness, and authoritarian submissiveness, were significantly related with the examined personality traits. Path analysis, with ethno-nationalist attitudes as the terminal dependent variable, showed that authoritarianism mediated the influence of the analyzed personality traits, but also that aggressiveness exhibits significant direct effect onto ethno-nationalist attitudes. The findings indicate that authoritarianism can be partly explained by aggressiveness, alienation and anxiety, that authoritarianism cannot be reduced to any of these variables or their combination, and that authoritarianism does not cover all psychological predisposition for negative outgroup attitudes.

Danica Fink-Hafner and Damjan Lajh: Lessons from Managing Conflict Situations in the EU Accession Negotiations: The Case of Slovenia
The paper draws some lessons from Slovenian experiences in managing conflict situations in the EU accession negotiations. The outcome of negotiations on a specific conflictive policy issue in the framework of European Agreement negotiations between the EU and Slovenia is explained by a combination of intergovernmentalist, institutionalist, pluralist and actor-based approaches. The case study on closing Slovenia’s duty-free shops down pitches the investigation at two-levels: EU and national. Despite Slovenia’s unequal position as a candidate-country in bilateral negotiations with Italy and Austria, as well as in negotiations with the EU, the Slovenian national institutional arrangements and the employing of national institutional veto-points by Slovenian economic interest groups (in concert with some political actors) made possible: a) a re-defining of the national interest; and b) a three-year postponement of the abolition of duty-free shops. Since all the described national institutional veto points continue to exist in the circumstances of full membership, the research findings remain relevant for understanding future problems in the implementation of common European policies that require national legislation in Slovenia.

Brezovsek Hacek: Ever since independence, local self-government reform has been considered one of the most important projects of the new Slovene state. One of its key aspects was the introduction of different forms of local democracy into the newly established units of local self-government. Local self-government, as the term itself implies, is one governed by itself – naturally, only as far as local matters are concerned. In terms of democratic rule, citizens would ideally govern their local community directly, i.e., they would take all decisions. However, the needs to be satisfied in a modern local community are too diverse and too complicated for all citizens to participate in the continuous decision-making. For this reason, relations between the elected local self-government bodies and local functionaries on the one hand, and citizens of the local community on the other hand play a special role. Communication between them is crucial if a higher degree of legitimacy is to be reached and public interest served. Although this communication should by all means be two-way, all too often it is only one-way. Most often, citizens would communicate with bodies of local self-government in order to obtain relevant information. But, this is only one aspect of indirect local democracy; less obvious but equally important aspects are gaining support, lobbying, inviting local functionaries and public servants to public gatherings, participating in working bodies, etc. One of the purposes of establishing village, town and district communities was thus to enhance citizens’ participation in the different forms of public life by opening up decision-making. Local communities are one of the pillars of any democratic state, while citizens’ right to participate in public matters is one of fundamental democratic principles. This requires the existence of local communities with democratically constituted decision making bodies that have a high degree of autonomy and responsibility, as well as ways and methods in which to exercise these responsibilities – and all the sources required. Although it has been now ten years since the development of a new, democratic and modern local self-government system, little is known of citizens’ participation in decision-making within this system. The area needs to be researched, in particular empirically. The main goal of this paper is therefore to analyse one of the key democratic elements of any modern democratic state such as Slovenia – the participation of citizens of a municipality in the exercising of authority. We will do this by presenting a case study of the city municipality of Ljubljana (CML). In this paper, we assumed that different factors influence the degree of political participation in a local community, and divided them into different groups such as political, macroeconomic, microeconomic and social factors. The methods we used were acquisition of objective data about CML and individual city districts, a survey conducted among citizens of city districts Trnovo and Moste, a survey conducted among councillors of four city districts, a survey conducted among city councillors, and statistical analysis of the data so acquired. We looked at citizens’ participation in the local self-government system, which is a special form of local democracy, also from the following aspects: its theoretical role, the functioning of local democracy, local self-government modernisation and various questions connected with citizens’ participation.

Damjan Lajh: Implementing the EU’s Structural Policy and Subnational Mobilisation in Slovenia
The article focuses on how the EU’s structural policy is being implemented in Slovenia, and seeks to examine whether the EU’s regional development initiatives empowered subnational actors in Slovenia when it was an EU accession-state. In terms of theory, the specific impact of Europeanisation on the territorial structures of EU member-states is still relatively controversial. Analysts of these processes differ sharply in their theoretical expectations concerning their outcomes: some see them as part of the erosion of national authority and a step forward along the path to the ‘Europe of regions’. The analysis conducted demonstrates that in Slovenia subnational actors have started to matter in the EU’s regional policy process. Nevertheless, in the case of Slovenia we can speak merely about the employment of subnational actors, rather than their empowerment. The main reason for this is the absence of self-governing, autonomous regions as political-administrative entities, since Regional Development Agencies as key actors at the ‘regional’ level are generally still very frail, financially weak, have a limited availability of skilled staff and lack experience in implementing projects, particularly within a programme context.

Tomaž Boh: ‘Charardius alexandrinus‘, Experts and the European Union
When understood as a domestic-level change as a result of EU influences Europeanisation is an omnipresent and complex phenomenon. As the European Union moves towards a supranational polity with universally applicable rules, the degree of compliance or the differences and similarities in policies and regulatory styles are becoming increasingly interesting for different sorts of research. Europeanisation processes differ significantly among different policy fields and depend on the treaty basis of an area, a nation-state’s perception of that area and the tradition (pre-existing patterns) of managing the field. Environmental is also one of the most complex areas in the sense it overlaps with other policy areas and the amount of knowledge needed for decision-making. In the article we examine the process of transposing and legally implementing Natura 2000 areas where, due to the importance of expert knowledge, epistemic communities are playing a decisive role. Decision-making on a technocratic basis has some important advantages. It is one way to overcome politicisation and controversy but, on the other hand, great problems can appear in the phase of practically implementing such decisions, while different interest holders are included in the process merely as observers or the targets of communication strategies rather than active partners.

Tamás Csapody: Passive Resistance of secondary form’s in Hungary between 1848 and 1856
Passive resistance (PR) is a kind of non-violent opposition, consisting of various components of non-collaboration, civil disobedience, and satyagraha; a series of non-violent political protest-actions, which is non-violent in each and every case, in spite of the fact that its participants do not stand on the base of principal non-violence. PR is open, mass non-collaboration with power, without assuming the full responsibility for the criminal consequences of the participant’s behaviour. Deák’s five letters on the subject are assumed to be the most important political documents of it. Hungarian historiography associates the concept of PR with Deák, because of his mentality, political career, way of life, activity, and history-making personality. The years passed from 1849 to 1861 are generally called the period of „the Hungarian PR”. 1. PR, as a special form of political protest, did exist and „flourished„ in Hungary; 2. Roots of the post-revolution PR period, and Deák’s then political activity go back to the period of PR before the revolution (that is called Deák’s primary political socialization); 3. The post-revolution period of PR is a repeated appearance of the same attitude against the Hapsburgs. 4. Both periods of passive resistance came from the lack of power, and appeared as the weapon of the weak; 5. An essential difference between the two periods is that the first one is the fighting method of a society that can not take up arms yet, and the latter one is the way of political struggle of a society that can not take arms any more; 6. Afterwards, the pre-revolution PR was the initial phase of a violent upraise, while the post-revolution passive resistance was a rearguard action, fueled by the memory of the revolution.

Gábor Király: Democracy and Technology. Notes on A. Feenberg’s Ideas
This paper aims to identify the tensions between the global nature of technological systems and the local character of environmental debates. According to A. Feenberg, we increasingly live our life determined by global technological systems. These systems go beyond conventional spatial relations of political thinking. However, environmental debates, concerned with the underlying principles of technology, are bound to particular localities.