Publications of Batory, A.
Defying the Commission: Creative compliance and respect for the rule of law in the EU
This article investigates how and to what extent member states comply with EU obligations in terms of process and outcome. The aim is to demonstrate how norm-conform behaviour unfolds, or fails to unfold, in an interaction between member state and the European Commission. The empirical focus is on recent rule of law crises in France, Hungary and Romania. The argument is that member states engage in symbolic and/or creative compliance, designed to create the appearance of norm-conform behavior without giving up their original objectives. The cases illustrate that creative and symbolic compliance strategies may be successfully employed by member states because they enable the Commission to disengage from conflicts it judges too costly and yet maintain credibility, and are conditioned by the visibility of failure to change facts on the ground. The implication is that, at times, not only is compliance symbolic, but to some extent also enforcement.
'Populists-in-government? Hungary's 'system of national cooperation'
This article considers Hungary’s political system from 2010 to 2014 with Fidesz in power and domestic and international actors’ responses to the challenge of populists-in-government. The article argues that domestic responses were weakened by Fidesz’ use of its supermajority for a partisan redrafting of the country’s constitutional order, but also by its mainstream competitors’ failure to offer a contrasting yet positive vision for the electorate. External actors, and the EU in particular, may therefore have emerged as the main bulwark against the effects of populists-in-government. However, the EU was relatively ill-equipped to deal with systemic violations of the common values of the Union with respect to its member states, and arguably even the available measures were not used to their full potential. The main explanation for this lies in Fidesz’ origins: rather than starting its life on the fringes of the electoral space, the party had been the major, mainstream centre-right alternative. This position in Hungary’s party system had in turn endowed Fidesz with strong transnational links which outlasted the party’s own transformation and continued to act to dampen EU action.
Uploading as political strategy: The European Parliament and the Hungarian media law debate
Using the 2010 Hungarian media law as case study, this article traces the process in which an issue in the domestic politics of a (‘new’) EU member state is transformed into a transnational political conflict. How and why do political actors upload issues to the EU level, specifically, into the European parliamentary arena? How do others, with conflicting interests, resist such a change? The analytical framework is based on venue shopping, a concept hitherto mainly utilised in the context of interest group behaviour. Contestation around the Hungarian media law illustrates that a number of conditions, to do with the existing links of the uploading political actor with the new venue and the nature of the issue itself, are necessary to make uploading a viable strategy.
Consistency and diversity? The EU's rotating trio Council Presidency after the Lisbon Treaty
The Lisbon Treaty introduced significant changes to the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). The new Treaty combines a permanent chair with the principle of rotation based on three member states collaborating during an 18-month period, without specifying the responsibilities of trio groups. This left wide scope for the first post-Lisbon trio to establish new working mechanisms. By discussing the joint Presidency of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, this article interprets the trio model and its combination with the permanent chair model as an attempt to re-adjust the balance between consistency and diversity. Rotation remains a key instrument for ensuring the representation of the diversity of member states in an enlarged Union. At the same time, the EU’s ever more complex policy agenda and a greater need for collective leadership motivate the search for new forms of cooperation to enhance policy consistency over consecutive Presidency terms.
Programme Monitoring Committees in cohesion policy: Overseeing the distribution of structural funds in Hungary and Slovakia
Under European Union (EU) law, Monitoring Committees (MCs) are charged with overseeing the implementation of Operational Programmes in cohesion policy. Despite their potential to influence the process of fund disbursement, relatively little is known about the Committees’ operation and their impact in the new member states. This article is an empirical study of how three MCs actually work in Hungary and Slovakia. We find that whilst these bodies have relatively limited oversight capacities and are characterised by a primary concern with procedural compliance with EU requirements, they have an important role in providing significant opportunities for learning, information exchange, expert input and networking.
Political cycles and organisational life cycles: Delegation to anti-corruption agencies in Central Europe
A large number of ‘independent’ anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) sprung up around the world in past decades. Yet, little comparative work has been done to explain the diversity of their organizational forms or development trajectories. Using insights from regulatory theory and the regulation of government literature, this paper argues that the formal powers and independence ACAs are granted crucially depend on whether external and/or domestic impetuses for setting them up can counterbalance governments’ incentives for no action, or only symbolic action. The ACAs’ initial mandate influences, but does not determine how they fare in later life: support or obstruction from ruling governments, their own ability to use strategic resources, and leadership shape the extent to which the agencies are able to carry out their tasks in practice. These arguments are examined through comparison of three ACAs in the EU’s ‘new’ member states – Latvia, Poland and Slovenia.
The national coordination of EU policy in Hungary: Patterns of contrinuity and change
Although European Union (EU) membership generates similar functional pressures for national administrations, member states developed institutional arrangements that show marked cross-country variation in the coordination of EU policy. This article examines and assesses the institutions and mechanisms established in Hungary for formulating polity positions on the domestic level and communicating them to the EU level. In line with the general features of central government, the system is highly centralized and hierarchical, and has been characterized by a comprehensive coordination ambition from its inception. The case confirms the primary importance of national institutional factors for shaping coordination systems, but also the relevance of more actor-centered explanations for accounting for changes in the top decision-making tier. At the same time, the Hungarian experience also draws attention to power relations within governing parties and prime ministerial involvement as key variables so far relatively neglected in the literature.
Why do anti-corruption laws fail in Central Eastern Europe? A target compliance perspective
The Central Eastern European member states of the European Union have introduced a host of anti-corruption measures in the past two decades, yet corruption is still prevalent. Rather than asking what is wrong with the letter of the law, which has traditionally been the focus of analysis, this article identifies some of the reasons why those whose behavior the law seeks to change fail to act as expected. Drawing on theoretical insights from implementation studies and using Hungary as an illustrative example, the article finds that both incentives and normative judgments are skewed towards non-compliance with anti-bribery laws. The main policy implications are that anti-corruption interventions should pay more attention to raising awareness among target groups, take existing social norms into account, and rely on positive incentives as well as, or rather than, increasing penalties.
The Power of the Purse: Supranational Entrepreneurship, Financial Incentives, and European Higher Education Policy
This article shows how the European Commission cultivates policy shifts toward a particular idea of a common European Higher Education Area by using its considerable financial leverage. By making European Union (EU) funding dependent on grant recipients meeting certain strategically selected conditions, the Commission creates new incentive structures for domestic actors, in this case higher education institutions (HEIs), with two important consequences. First, the Commission turns universities into agents for its policies: Universities lobby governments to pass legislation, which would allow them to conform to Commission requirements. Second, HEIs try to comply with the Commission’s requirements even in the absence of compatible national frameworks, thereby leapfrogging policy decisions on the national level. Describing this as a “soft” mechanism for achieving convergence, as Open Method of Coordination accounts posit, overlooks the fundamentally non-negotiable nature of the process from the participants’ perspective and considerably underestimates the Commission’s real influence. We examine this argument through a case study of an EU-funded higher education program, Erasmus Mundus.
Re-visiting the Partnership Principle in cohesion policy: The role of civil society organisations in Structural Funds monitoring
This article investigates the horizontal dimension of partnership arrangements in cohesion policy in three EU Member States: Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. The focus is on the practice of the monitoring committees (MCs), the primary institutional expression of partnership in the distribution of Structural Funds. The main findings are that in each country NGO participation in the MCs remained contentious, the working of the committees was rather formalistic, and the bodies' purpose and role conceptions were ambiguous. The implication is that partnership as currently practised does not live up either to normative expectations suggested by the EU regulation of the committees or to the expectations of civil society partner organizations themselves.
Post-accession malaise? EU conditionality, domestic politics and anti-corruption policy in Hungary
Corruption in the then candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe was a major concern for the European Union (EU) before its 2004 enlargement. This concern and its expression in the conditionality of membership constituted strong incentives for the candidate countries' governments to control corruption – or more precisely to take control measures that could be communicated to the European Union. A common assumption in the literature is that with the removal by accession of these incentives anti-corruption efforts would not be maintained at their pre-accession level. But is this really the case? Or have other influences from international organisations, domestic politics or civil society taken over to provide impetus for further corruption control interventions? This article considers these questions with respect to Hungary and finds that while some of the post-2004 measures have been a response to the country's international commitments, there have also been important domestic sources of reform. The results are, however, limited: despite the country's relatively smooth path to the European Union, membership of all the major international legal instruments and three major reform packages since 2000, corruption seems no less prevalent than it was a decade before.
The Dog that Did Not Bark? Assessing the Impact of the EU on Party Politics in Hungary
The literature on the impact of the EU on parties and party systems has not resolved the debate on how we should measure the scale or significance of changes in domestic politics, and indeed what sort of changes should be seen as EU-induced. Applied to the Hungarian case, existing indicators suggest that while, given the need to contest European elections, some inevitable adaptation occurred on the level of the parties, on the level of the party system the impact of European integration has been rather limited. Although an EU connection is detectable in a number of important political developments in recent times, these EU-related factors at most added to the cumulative impact of a range of other influences. A broader implication is that research strategies that start from an assumption of the existence of a link between changes in domestic politics and European integration may well overstate the case for Europeanization.
Volby do Evropského parlamentu 2004
The 2004 Elections to the European Parliament : Parties and Voting Behaviour in Cross-national Comparison.
A 2004. évi európai parlamenti választások : pártok és szavazói magatartás nemzetközi összehasonlításban
The 2004 Elections to the European Parliament : Parties and Voting Behaviour in Cross-national Comparison.
Az első magyarországi európai parlamenti választások
The first European elections in Hungary.
Book review : Germany and East-Central Europe : Political, Economic and Socio-Cultural Relations in the Era of EU Enlargement
This article reviews the book "Germany and East-Central Europe : Political, Economic and Socio-Cultural Relations in the Era of EU Enlargement" by Steve Wood.
Cleavages, competition and coalition-building : Agrarian parties and the European question in Western and East Central Europe
The central argument in this article is that Europeanisation of party politics 2013 the translation of issues related to European integration into domestic party politics 2013 is driven by the dynamics of long- and short-term party strategy. Variations in the patterns of Euroscepticism found in agrarian parties across Europe is therefore explained in terms of three central variables: the agrarian parties' long-term policy goals linked to identity and interest; their position in the party systems and the mainstream left- and right-wing parties' stance on European integration; and their long- and short-term electoral strategies and office-related incentives.