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

Sedelmeier, Ulrich ORCID: 0000-0001-6963-4296 (2014) Anchoring democracy from above? The European Union and democratic backsliding in Hungary and Romania after accession. Journal of Common Market Studies, 52 (1). 105 - 121. ISSN 0021-9886

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jcms.12082

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: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14685965
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2014 11:34
Last Modified: 28 May 2024 21:27
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/55127

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