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Issue framing as an explanation of the diversity of minority rights regimes in candidate countries

Cem Duyulmus
Université de Montréal
Emilie Blais
University of Pittsburgh
Cem Duyulmus
Université de Montréal
Open Panel

Abstract

The literature on Europeanization emphasizes that changes in specific policies of the candidate countries follow the logic of the external incentives model. In this model, candidates have to fulfill EU’s conditions in order to receive the rewards . This approach depicts the process in a top-down dynamic. However, in the recent rounds of enlargement (fifth and sixth), conditionality is experienced differently in the candidate countries especially in issue areas that are not directly part of the acquis communautaire. Focusing on minority rights, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate how minority rights governance has varied in four candidate countries: Estonia, Latvia, Turkey and Hungary. We argue that a candidate country is more likely to pursue a strategy of issue framing when it is politically costly to comply with EU’s conditions on minority rights, and that if used, framing allows for a variety minority rights governance outcomes despite the same initial EU’s condition. Minority rights governance in these four cases demonstrates that Europeanization is not a uniform process for candidate countries, and that the countries’ historical contexts matter. Accordingly, we find that historically based immigration or cultural right frames have shaped the changes in minority rights governance during enlargement.