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Joining a Transnationalising Civil Society from Europe’s Margins?

Laszlo Bruszt
European University Institute
Laszlo Bruszt
European University Institute
Balázs Vedres
Central European University
Open Panel

Abstract

It is often claimed that the European Union – far beyond integrating its former socialist members through trade, investment and finance – has been actively involved in (re)building the capacities of their central and local public administrations as well as in creating, strengthening, and transnationally integrating their civil actors – whether social movements and NGOs. How far have these processes advanced in light of new empirical evidence? Are the new societal actors becoming autonomous agents of domestic change, or they stay depoliticized on the margins of civil society and remain dependent on external assistance? The paper presents evidence based on a survey of the largest one thousand Hungarian NGOs and a survey of 600 local NGOs in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.