Promoting Corruption Control in Post-Communist Europe after EU Accession: The Role of Opposition Parties in National Legislatures

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
Mert Kartal , Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
When states with an authoritarian past signal their willingness to accede to a democratic international organization (IO), to what extent do they actually change their behavior in line with the IO’s requirements?  Focusing on the European Union (EU), the paper presents the first systematic analysis in the literature based on panel data covering 27 post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) from 1995 to 2016 and suggesting that the vast majority of the EU-member CEE countries have suffered from substantial reversals in control of corruption after accession.  Investigating the conditions under which such backsliding could be prevented, the paper finds that public support for the EU and the presence of pro-EU opposition parties in national legislatures constitute a “sufficient” condition balancing the loss of the credible membership incentive in the post-accession period.  In-depth case studies tracing anti-corruption reforms in Estonia, Poland, and Romania since the mid-1990s suggest that the EU can create electoral incentives and/or opportunities for opposition parties to follow EU-induced policy preferences and, therefore, can mobilize them to pressure governments to deliver required reforms.
  • Kartal_Ces2017b.pdf (875.9 kB)