Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Elites in Eastern Europe are ambivalent to EU enlargement

14.08.2003


Local elites in post-communist accession countries have a limited knowledge of the EU and were not engaged in the accession process, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.



"Local officials, business people, the media and the cultural intelligentsia feel that the accession process is relevant only to national decision-makers and has little to do with them," says Dr. Jim Hughes of London School of Economics, who led the project, which is part of the extensive One Europe or Several? Programme. "The gap between the pro-Europe views of the national elites and the increasingly Euro-ambivalent attitudes among local elites and public opinion could have a negative effect on implementing the agreed conditions of EU membership," he says.

The research, which is one of the largest studies of elites in Eastern Europe undertaken by UK academics, included 446 interviews about attitudes to economic and political transition and to the EU and NATO in ’second’ cities in Hungary, Romania, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia, as well as in Russia and Ukraine. In addition, the researchers conducted 30 interviews with officials in the Enlargement and Regional directorates of the European Commission.


The researchers also examined how the EU’s conditions of membership relative to institution building at a regional level and to the human rights of minorities were being translated into policy in the accession states. "The protection of minorities is a clear case of double standards," says Jim Hughes. "The Commission has demanded higher standards among accession countries than in the Member States. Our findings show that EU conditions on regional policy and minority protection have not yet resulted in new political strategies or effective implementation of laws in the countries covered by our study. This demonstrates the weakness of EU conditionality in these key areas."

One of the most startling findings of the research was that, unlike their national governments, key opinion formers outside the capital cities were largely unaware of the immense financial gains that most regions in the accession countries will receive from EU regional support. Despite the fact that some of the regions covered had already received substantial EU aid, most local opinion-makers identified the economic and security dimensions of the Union as being important and ranked the structural funds and subsidiarity relatively low down when asked what the EU meant to them.

"The exclusion of sub-national elites from the negotiation process, and their lack of knowledge and ambivalent attitudes towards the EU could have a far-reaching effect on their commitment to the implementation of EU legislation once the candidates become member states of the EU, especially as regards agriculture, regional development and the environment," warns Jim Hughes.

The research also highlights some general problems in the work of the Commission, such as its ’top-down’ approach to policy, tension between the approaches of various directorates, and to the inconsistencies and lack of transparency in its work. "The Commission seems to rely on a ’trickle down’ effect to communicate the meaning of enlargement, when what is needed is pro-active interaction from the bottom-up in building European integration," says Jim Hughes. "The virtual exclusion of sub-national elites from the process of integration may strengthen the growing euroscepticism in the CEECs.’

For further information contact:

Dr. Claire Gordon, home: 020-8748-8146, work: 020-7955-7538, mobile: 07985-704246 or email C.E.Gordon@lse.ac.uk or Lesley Lilley, Rachel Blackford or Anna Hinds on 01-79-341-3119, 41-3126 or
41-3122.

Anna Hinds | ESRC
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.regard.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rising CO2 has unforeseen strong impact on Arctic plant productivity
21.02.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie

nachricht Scientists Create New Map of Brain’s Immune System
18.02.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Volcanic Binge And Its Frosty Hangover

21.02.2019 | Earth Sciences

Cleaning 4.0 in the meat processing industry – higher cleaning efficiency

21.02.2019 | Trade Fair News

New mechanisms regulating neural stem cells

21.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>