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Enlargement Goes Western Balkans-Croatian Institutions in Time [:] Sluggish Institutional Evolution, Resilience, and Shallow Europeanisation

By Georgios Chatzigiagkou


The overarching focus of this thesis is the institutional (and policy) consequences of European integration for the Republic of Croatia. So far, most research on ‘candidate Europeanisation’ has focused on the impact of EU conditionality on the domestic polity, politics, and policy domains of the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe. This study extends candidate-state Europeanisation research further to the South-East corner of the continent. Unlike the other Western Balkan states, Croatia is very close to concluding its entry talks and hence becoming the 28th EU member-state. Yet Croatia’s bid for EU membership has been the most challenging, draconian and uncertain in the history of EU enlargement. The time is thus ripe for an appraisal of the EU’s impact on Croatia’s institutional context. The present study employs a historical variant of rational choice institutionalism in politics, answering acclaimed scholars’ call for more ‘pluralist’ theorising in social sciences in general, and more explicit, history-sensitive and time-oriented theorising in Europeanisation research in particular. In this study, the historical perspective - encapsulated in the notion of ‘institutional evolution’ - helps make sense of the processes of ‘politicisation’, ‘resilience’ and ‘institutionalisation’ which have thus far been neglected in writing on ‘candidate-state Europeanisation’. The present study inquires into four Croatian institutions and two policies: civil service, administrative procedures and justice systems, and territorial set-up, as well as regional policy and decentralisation. In terms of research design, a ‘bottom-up-down’ framework is employed here, aiming at providing a ‘rounded’ explanation of the phenomenon of domestic institutional development under EU conditional incentives. Overall, both the historical and empirical chapters suggest a ‘sluggish’ pattern of institutional development in Croatia, persisting resilience to change and therefore ‘shallow’ Europeanisation effects. That being said, the present study exposes the limits of the transformative power of the EU

Publisher: Politics (York)
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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