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The Masks of the Political God by Luca Ozzano

Public Administration Changes and the Impact of the EU: Agencification and Depoliticisation in Central and Eastern Europe

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Public Administration
European Union
Vitalis Nakrošis
Vilnius University
Vitalis Nakrošis
Vilnius University

The proposed paper compares the actual patterns of agencification and depoliticisation in Lithuania and explains the extent to which the EU contributed to these changes. Based on the literature of Europeanisation (e.g. Börzel and Risse, 2000) and public policy/administration (e.g. Sabatier 1999), our framework for analysis links external factors (influence of the EU and government changes), internal factors (beliefs and resources of political actors) and our dependent variables (changes and the EU’s impact). Though the previous analysis of politicisation and agencification in Central and Eastern Europe was based on the survey data (e.g. Meyer-Sahling and Veen, 2012) or case studies informed by desk research (e.g. Randma-Liiv, Nakrošis and Hajnal, 2011), our research employs (descriptive and inferential) statistical analysis of data on political participation of the agency managers (N = 314) and organisational changes of the Lithuanian agencies (N = 309). Furthermore, a longitudinal approach is employed to observe the ‘net change’ (Graziano and Vink, 2013) by mapping agencification and politicisation changes throughout the period 1990-2012.
The paper finds that the EU made a significant contribution to the establishment of new agencies due to the need to implement specific EU requirements in the pre-accession period, but its impact on the survival of Europeanised agencies was much smaller in the post-accession period (associated with ex ante or ex post control of the EU institutions over some Europeanised agencies). Changes in the scope of politicisation (a downward trend in 1997-1999 followed by an upward trend in 2000-2004) can be explained by a combination of changes to the EU’s membership conditionality (weaker mechanisms of the EU’s influence over the political criteria after the opening of accession negotiations with Lithuania) and wholesale government changes (the appointment of a new party bloc whose politicians shared beliefs in exercising party patronage over the appointment of agency heads).
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