The Czech Republic: The Unexpected Force of Institutional Constraints

Milada Anna Vachudová

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244096
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600371 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 The Czech Republic: The Unexpected Force of Institutional Constraints

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Describes the influence of the international institutions in shaping democratic consolidation and economic reform in the Czech Republic as a case study of an East European state that strongly wished to join those institutions. The chapter traces the changing nature of international influence on the consolidation of Czech democracy as the polity passed through four stages. The first was characterized by profound yet diffuse influence. In the second stage, Western influence was delimited by two factors: (1) ‘homemade’ reform by Prime Minister Václav Klaus, a mix of Czech provincialism, free market ideology, and political pragmatism; and (2) insufficient pressure of NATO and the EU to compel reforms. The third stage saw increased EU criticism of economic performance, corruption, and racism. The fourth stage was characterized by the weakening of the EU membership argument for difficult reforms. Overall, the Czech case shows that the conditionality of the EU depends on a certain tension between confidence in securing membership and fear of suffering rejection due to inadequate reform.

Keywords: conditionality; Czech Republic; democratic consolidation; economic reform; EU; international institutions; membership; NATO; Václav Klaus

Chapter.  15421 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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