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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

Ten Years of the EU Membership in NMS: Decline in Democracy, Good Governance and Competitiveness

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Attila Ágh
Corvinus University of Budapest
Attila Ágh
Corvinus University of Budapest

The Ten Years of the New Member States (NMS) in the EU is a good occasion to evaluate their developments, the failures and achievements. The “Ten Years” as a decade in the EU can only be assessed against the background of “Twenty Years” of systemic change , since this conceptual framework allows to take a longer and deeper historical perspective into account, in which both Democratization and Europeanization have to be envisaged. Altogether, the New Member States have undergone a triple crisis in the last two decades and its cumulative effect offers a proper analytical framework for the discussion of the Ten Years. First, the NMS had a transformation crisis in the early nineties, and with the EU entry they fell into the post-accession crisis, followed immediately by the global crisis within twenty years. The analysis of triple crisis requires a macro-regional approach, since these countries - despite their many national idiosyncrasies - have followed the same pattern of the macro-regional development.
This paper deals with the eight NMS from Poland to Slovenia and Croatia within the EU. It has been based on a large database with sixty Tables from various international agencies and policy institutes (World Bank, OECD, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann, Freedom House, European Policy Centre, Demos, World Economic Forum etc.). The analysis is focusing on the decline of democracy, good governance and competitiveness in NMS and the paper concludes that a “post-conditionality approach” is needed, or the “Copenhagen Revisited” process means actually some kind of “re-entry” of the NMS to the EU.
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