Publications of Gergő Medve-Bálint

Diversity and Development: Policy Entrepreneurship of Euroregional Initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe

The article builds on the authors' research into the formation of Euroregions in Central and Eastern Europe, addressing questions that may also be relevant on a broader European scale. Based on our empirical findings, in previous research we demonstrated why some local governments join Euroregions while others abstain. This article takes a further step and aims to discuss what happens once local governments become involved in them. How do motivations and expectations of local governments, as well as the power asymmetries between them, determine the capacity of these small-scale local cross-border collaborative initiatives to act as policy entrepreneurs? We take the three different Euroregional initiatives present in the Komárom–Esztergom region at the Hungarian–Slovakian border as illustrative examples. The empirical data were collected through personal interviews with the representatives of the Euroregions and with the highest political representatives of all local governments that are members on the Hungarian side. We find that differences in membership structure and in the motivational background influence their capacity to act as policy entrepreneurs operationalized as organizational development, diversification of resource base and appropriation of cross-border cooperation activities. We thus rely on a modified version of Markus Perkmann's theoretical framework built around the concept of policy entrepreneurship, but apply it to cases where we are able to control for variations in underlying macro-level conditions, such as politico-administrative or ethno-linguistic settings. The paper, therefore, highlights the differences in the internal dynamics of these initiatives and also challenges the perception of Euroregions as homogeneous institutions.

Medve-Bálint G, Svensson S. Explaining coverage: why do local governments in Central Europe join (or not join) Euroregions? In: Klatt M, Andersen D, Sandberg M, editors. The Border Multiple: The Practicing of Borders between Public Policy and Everyday Life in Europe . Farnham: Ashgate ; 2012. p. 219-45. (Ashgate border series).

The influence of the EU on budgetary management: Experiences from Hungary and Slovakia

The central question of this study is to what extent the EU could influence the evolution of budgetary rules in the New Member States, prior to membership in the euro-zone and facing the challenge of fiscal adjustment. The paper compares the experiences of Slovakia and Hungary, which represent most similar cases as both have struggled with fiscal imbalances and weak budgetary institutions since the beginning of transition. While theories of Europeanization and policy transfer would have predicted reforms in both cases, only Slovakia can be considered successful in addressing these problems. The main insight from the comparison of the two cases is that instead of promoting policy transfer, the major influence of the EU was essentially the facilitation of domestic aspirations – in the case of Slovakia it provided both incentives and assistance for the strengthening of budgetary management, while in the case of Hungary the credibility offered by the EU made the postponement of necessary adjustment possible.

Taking Stock after Enlargement: Social Learning, Norm Transfer and Promoting Good Governance. Contextualizing the State of the Art in European Studies

This paper reviews the state of the art literature on social learning, norm transfer and promotion of good governance in relation to European enlargements and the policies of the European Union (EU) in its Eastern neighbourhood. By looking at how the EU regularly tried to adapt its toolbox to changing international and national contexts, the paper argues that the literature often evolved by following the difficulties the EU had to face in transferring its own norms abroad. In order to better understand the mechanisms of policy transfer, the paper suggests to link international and domestic factors in the theoretical approaches to EU external governance. The paper also offers some constructive ideas on how to broaden the existing research agenda and proposes to attribute more value to the expertise coming from the EU member states and partner countries.

The Rocky Road Ahead: Deepening Good Governance Progress in the Eastern Neighbourhood

On the example of Ukraine and Moldova, this paper demonstrates that the European Union’s influence over its Eastern Neighbourhood in terms of promoting good governance principles is highly limited and strongly conditional on domestic politics and the prevailing interests of several domestic political forces that try to maintain the status quo. In the context of missing credible EU membership prospects offered to these countries and the subsequent lack of conditionality, top-down norm transfer, which was one of the key aspects to the EU’s success in the recent enlargement rounds, does not work. Moreover, internal affairs of the EU’s eastern neighbours are also subject to other, more dominant external influences (such as that of Russia and China), which further weaken the EU’s ability to shape domestic politics in its Eastern Neighbourhood. Unless the EU demonstrates greater engagement and develops better cooperation mechanisms towards these countries, it will be unable to generate further democratization of its Eastern Neighbourhood.

Stuck between State- and Member State-Building Processes: the Difficulties of the European Union in Supporting the Europeanization of Bosnia-Herzegovina

Since 2002, the European Union (EU) has increasingly gained influence over the transition process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This process consists of two main, not fully complementary dimensions: state-building and EU member state-building. While the international community often used interventionist approaches to support the state-building process, the member state-building process is based on the principle of local ownership. By promoting both of these processes, the EU has been trying to introduce “good governance” practices in Bosnia. This paper analyses how effectively the EU has applied its foreign policy toolbox and transformative power to trigger good governance reforms in Bosnia in the security sector. By looking at the EU’s support for the fight against organized crime and police reform, the paper concludes that due to inconsistent approaches and policies, the EU has limited its ability to introduce “good governance” practices.