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Anchoring democracy from above? The European Union and democratic backsliding in Hungary and Romania after accession

Sedelmeier, Ulrich (2014) Anchoring democracy from above? The European Union and democratic backsliding in Hungary and Romania after accession. Journal of Common Market Studies, 52 (1). pp. 105-121. ISSN 0021-9886

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Abstract

This article analyzes the European Union's reactions to breaches of liberal democratic practices in Hungary and Romania during 2012-13 in order to assess its capacity to lock in democracy in the Member States. The article finds that a combination of partisan politics and weak normative consensus thwarted the EU's ability to use the sanctioning mechanism of Article 7. The effectiveness of alternative instruments that EU institutions used - social pressure, infringement procedures and issue linkage - varied across issues and countries. In Hungary, changes to illiberal practices generally remained limited, but differences in the EU's material leverage explain cross-issue variation. The EU's relative success in Romania suggests that it is not necessarily powerless against democratic backsliding. It might require a demanding constellation of favourable conditions for both social and material pressure, but there are grounds for a more optimistic interpretation that material leverage might be unnecessary if the conditions for social pressure are favourable.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(IS...
Additional Information: © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2014 11:34
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/55127/

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