Chapter

The Impact of Active Leverage II: Reforming the State and the Economy, 1997–2004

Milada Anna Vachudova

in Europe Undivided

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199241194
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602382 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199241198.003.0008
 The Impact of Active Leverage II: Reforming the State and the Economy, 1997–2004

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In all candidate states, the EU’s active leverage forced governments to embark on politically difficult reforms of the state and of the economy, committing politicians to a predictable agenda of economic liberalization. This happened not only because of straightforward conditionality but also because the pre-accession process served as a credible commitment to economic reform and as an impetus for the growth of pro-EU groups in society. The Czech Republic stands out as a hybrid case that experienced a greater concentration (and abuse) of political and economic power than Poland or Hungary, forcing it to change more dramatically in response to the EU’s active leverage. In the post-illiberal states, keeping ruling elites within the parameters set by the EU’s pre-accession process while locking all mainstream political parties into a pro-EU orientation signifies a great success. This chapter analyses the convergence of domestic politics in Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania after more liberal elites took power, and also explains the significant and persistent variation in the performance of the three states in implementing comprehensive reforms.

Keywords: civil society; compliance; conditionality; constructivist; credible commitment; economic reform; foreign direct investment; rationalist; reform of the state; transformative conditionality

Chapter.  18029 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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