Unpacking De-Europeanization in New Member States and Beyond: How EU Instruments Forge Perverse Outcomes

Friday, July 14, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Ebru Ertugal , Baskent University
This paper explores dynamics of de-Europeanization in new member states and accession countries and the role EU policy instruments play in these processes. While the comparative literature acknowledges that the EU may potentially lead to ‘negative outcomes’, ‘backsliding’, 'nasty consequences’ or ‘retrenchment’, empirical cases of increased misfit have yet to be explored. This paper, first, reviews the Europeanization literature and presents the limited evidence on cases of expanded misfit between EU norms and domestic practices in new member states and accession countries. Second, it highlights the contradictory role of EU instruments in dynamics of de-Europeanization in these countries. Third, it unpacks these dynamics through an illustration of changes in regional governance in a candidate country. It analyzes recent changes in key dimensions of regional governance with a specific focus on key institutional actors, power relationships among these, nature of multi-level governance and coordination mechanisms in relation to the recently introduced regional Development Agencies in Turkey. It shows that these changes paradoxically result in an ever-enlarging misfit between European and Turkish models of regional governance, resulting in a stark case of ‘retrenchment’. The paper emphasizes the counter-intuitive role EU instruments play in these changes. Drawing on the policy instruments approach, the paper concludes that seemingly neutral EU institutional and financial instruments are in fact highly political; these instruments, themselves, bolster the basis of political support of ruling government through further legitimizing its de-Europeanizing policy priorities and introducing additional resources to be distributed to local vested interests.