rss_2.0Politics in Central Europe FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Politics in Central Europe in Central Europe Feed’s Governmental Response to the European Green Deal: Discursive Strategies prior to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in February 2022<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Although Poland’s energy mix is becoming ‘greener’ each year, the coun‑ try’s energy production is still dominated by coal. This affects several important spheres: financial, socioeconomic and political. Therefore, the aim of the article is to explain Poland’s response to adaptational pressure stemming from the European Green Deal (EGD) by reconstructing discursive strategies related to the topics of decarbonisa‑ tion and green transformation. We perceive the EGD as a regulatory initiative, whose purpose is to incorporate formal rules and European norms in the domestic discourse and public policies. In order to induce such a change, the European Commission influ‑ ences the ‘utility calculations’ used by member states. However, at the same time, some member states need to deal with problems caused by misfits between their energy sector’s capabilities and expectations of the EGD. In Poland’s case, the significant fields of misfits refer to national emission targets, obligations resulting from the EU Emis‑ sion Trading System and the Fit for 55 reform package. Using discourse analysis, we have reconstructed a governmental narrative on the transformation based on elec‑ tion manifestos, selected ministerial documents and social media posts from the years 2019–2021. As the government aims to present itself as defenders of Polish national interests, climate‑related policies are seen as a threat. There is a clear focus on energy sovereignty and security issues, while challenges related to global warming are absent from the political communication. As the situation at the Belarussian border developed and the danger connected with Russian politics became clearer, the concept of being a defender acquired more meanings.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in my House: EU-citizenship among East-Central European Citizens: Comparative Analyses<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The successes of right -wing populist parties in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as a repeated distancing from the European Union, raise the question of whether there is such a thing as European citizenship at all. Citizenship is not understood as formal nationality, but as a sense of belonging. This ties in with the considerations of political cultural research. This article uses representative surveys to address the question: What about European Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe? The results show that the feeling of belonging to the European Union in Eastern and Central Europe is better than its reputation and not lower than in Western Europe. However, there are differences in the recognition of plurality between the majority (not all) of Eastern European states compared to the majority of Western European states. In particular, the integration of Muslims is more strongly rejected. The same applies to the social acceptance of homosexuality. This partly explains the success of right -wing populists in Central and Eastern Europe and marks a certain cultural difference, which is primarily directed against a wet model of democracy that is considered too open to plurality. In short: Central and Eastern Europeans also see themselves as Europeans and EU members, but their ideas of a European democracy differ from Western ideas – especially in peripheral regions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Emerging New World System and the European Challenge<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the early 2020s we live in the transition period between two world systems, the Old World Order (OWO) and the New World Order (NWO), in a deep ‘polycrisis’. Therefore, the term transformation has recently appeared in official EU documents as well as in political science literature. The transition to the NWO has begun with this crisis management and it will produce a radical transformation of the entire global architecture in the 2020s. In its conceptual framework this paper focuses on the contrast between ‘de‑coupling’ and ‘de ‑risking’, as it has been explained very markedly in the recent speeches of the president of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen (EC 2023a), and the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan (The White House 2023). This contrast symbolises the US policy, concentrating more on cutting or reducing connectivity among the various policy fields, versus the EU policy turning them safe and interdependent. These approaches represent the US and EU attitude in the emerging New World Order, and primarily in their relationships to China.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to the Special Section ‘EU Citizenship in Peripheral Regions: Collective Identities and Political Participation in Eastern Central and Western Europe’‘The Iron Curtain did not dissolve very well’: Reflections on EU Citizenship from CEE peripheralised perspectives<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Peripheralisation is determined in socio ‑demographic, economic, political and identitarian factors. It is, many say, by definition, characterised by a willingness to migrate, in particular among the younger generations. European citizenship comes with the right to migrate – to relocate, to work and to be treated as equals in many respects to the local citizenry. In this research paper, I explicate the results of twenty interviews in six CEE countries with 7 <sup>th</sup> ‑graders who were asked what they thought of European citizenship. Those who knew what this is give widely divergent answers, but there are two dominant themes running through their perspectives: they do not feel great affection for the EU, and whilst willing to migrate, they do not appreciate the need to do so. Thus, they feel the EU does not live up to its promises to deliver equality for all Europeans. One explanation they give for this is that ‘the Iron Curtain did not dissolve very well’: the burden of history is acutely experienced.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Regional Economic Foundations of European Identity<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The question of whether there is increasing social integration among EU citizens in Europe as a spill ‑over effect of the ongoing process of system integration, as expected by utilitarian perspectives on integration, has been discussed in many contri‑ butions so far. In particular, the question of how the economic strength and develop‑ ment of macro ‑units affects European social integration has gained new momentum after the 2004 enlargement, when economically weaker ECE countries became part of the EU. In this contribution, I focus on the impact of regional economic strength and development on European social integration. I analyse the relationship between the economic situation and development of NUTS‑1 regions and individual European identity using Eurobarometer data for the years 2004, 2010 and 2015. Using descrip‑ tive and multivariate quantitative approaches, I show that regional economic strength is weakly correlated with European identity, although not significant in multivariate models. However, citizens who believe that the EU is an economic advantage are more likely to identify as Europeans and are more prevalent in regions with higher economic growth. I conclude that convincing citizens of the economic benefits of EU membership could result in increased European social integration in the long run.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Sources of Euroscepticism in Eastern Central and Western Europe: The Role of Peripheral Regions<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper examines how regional contextual factors influence Eurosceptic voting in Eastern Central and Western Europe. It employs a theoretical framework of multidimensional regional periphery and relative deprivation to explore how economic, spatial and demographic factors can generate collective feelings of deprivation among regional inhabitants. This relative deprivation is supposed to manifest as political discontent expressed at the EU level, either by attributing responsibility for regional peripherality to the EU or by blaming national institutions, potentially spilling over to the EU level. Based on an integrated dataset encompassing economic, spatial and demographic indicators as well as election data from the European election 2019 for 1169 NUTS 3 regions within the EU, the findings support the hypotheses. Poor economic performance in a region, relative to the national average and historical levels, increases Eurosceptic voting, and the impact of an ageing population is significant. Spatial infrastructure conditions have minimal direct but moderating effects: Eurosceptic parties benefit more from economic underperformance, if the infrastructure is also poorly developed. The paper further shows differences in cue -taking between Eastern Central Europe and Western Europe suggesting that citizens in Eastern Central Europe consider the EU more often as saviour than as creator of regional deprivation. The paper underscores the importance of regional contextual factors and infrastructural effects, and highlights the need to avoid one-size-fits-all explanations for Euroscepticism in Eastern Central and Western Europe.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Realities in Biden’s World of Democracies<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The ‘liberal world order’ can be considered as an historic exception in the history of ‘realist anarchy’ of international relations. This exception is the result of many factors and it has been significantly influenced by the power of the United States. Thus, the agenda of the world order can be analysed in the context of American foreign policy. The place of Central Europe – and in the Visegrad countries – can be analysed in this frame. This approach elaborates the basis for further inquiries also of the Central European-American relations but here the goal is to understand the place of the Visegrad countries in the context of the American led liberal world order. The goal of this study is to theorise the world order, and to identify the role of the United States and the place of the Visegrad countries in it. Furthermore, the study tries to draw theoretic conclusions in the light of the ‘Biden doctrine’ – which is theoretically coherent with the liberal characteristic of the order – to the Visegrad-US relations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue implies proportionality: Assessing the (dis)proportionality of constituencies created for the 2022 Slovak regional elections<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In a democratic environment, political equality implies proportionality. Achieving this in an electoral setting can be complicated and unrealistic. The aim of this article is to investigate the logic, approach and method of creating constituencies in the elections for Slovak self-governing regions in 2022. We track the key attributes related to proportionality: the legislation, the actual creation of constituencies, the mechanisms used for the redistribution of mandates and the achievement of proportionality in individual constituencies within particular regions. Our results indicate considerable disproportionality within the constituencies of particular self-governing regions, which is mainly caused by the lack of effective legislation, the different approaches of authorities in creating constituencies and the absence of limits to the violation of electoral and thus political equality.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Russo-European Gas Trade and the Position of Southeast Europe between the Great Actors: Neo-imperialism, Conflict–Cooperation Perpetuum, and Soft Balancing<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article analyses the Russian neo-imperialist strategy in the gas trade in Southeast Europe (SEE) and the reactions of the EU and the region’s countries to this. The first argument in the article is that the existence of favourable political, social and economic preconditions is necessary for the application of a neo-imperialist strategy. The second argument is that an individual country’s geographical position determines Russian interest in building transit pipelines on its territory. Because the gas trade exists in the framework of the conflict-cooperation perpetuum between the interested parties, the third argument is that this provokes a reaction from the EU and the affected countries in the form of soft balancing. This approach is intended to curb Russia’s power, but not to completely break a gas trade with this country. As the EU has been making efforts to counteract Russian geo-economic power by promoting diversification of the gas supply and funding new gas infrastructure projects, Russian influence in the region has been decreasing in recent years.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue formation under semi-presidentialism: European countries in comparison<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article demonstrates that the rules and practices of cabinet formation and investitures should be taken into account to better grasp the variety of semi-presidentialism in Europe. This is extremely important, since semi-presidentialism as a constitutional system of government (primarily according to a minimalist approach to the definition) is the most common form of inter-institutional and political relations in European countries. The former is most often understood as a constitutional design of inter-institutional relations with a president popularly elected for a fixed term, as well as with a cabinet headed by a prime minister who are collectively responsible to parliament. Thus, not only presidents and parliaments, but cabinets too play a crucial role in the constitutional and political practice of semi-presidentialism, since the latter are collectively responsible to parliaments (or simultaneously to presidents), but are characterised by distinctive parameters of formation. The assumption and hypothesis are that options of cabinet formation and inter-institutional relations in this regard can structure European semi-presidentialism, even without affecting the definition of this constitutional design, but probably depending on the roles and powers of presidents and parliaments in cabinet formation, as well as types of semi-presidentialism regarding the consideration of who can dismiss the cabinet. Based on comparison and systematisation of the cases of European semi-presidentialism, it is justified that cabinet formation (including within various types and consequences of parliamentary votes of investiture in cabinets, as well as their absence) is typically focused on a junction of relations between presidents and parliaments, and are likely to serve as a classification indicator of semi-presidentialism. This is important for constitutional engineering, since detailing the optionality of semi-presidentialism as a constitutional design and system of government, particularly regarding cabinet formation, should extend the horizons, as well as systematise the idea of the options and effects of various institutional designs (in addition to presidentialism and parliamentarism) and political regimes (including democratic, autocratic and hybrid).</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Limits of Presidential Activism: Czech presidents compared<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article analyses the use of powers by Czech presidents Václav Havel (1993–2003), Václav Klaus (2003–2013) and Miloš Zeman (2013–2023). The text is based on the concept of presidential activism, empirically examining mainly their interactions with governments and legislative vetoes. The results show that important incentives for presidential activism are non-cohesive coalition governments, minority governments, slim government majorities in parliament, the collapse of governments and a chaotic parliament. On the other hand, the internal cohesion of a government acts as a constraint on presidential activism. Popularly elected Zeman interpreted his powers much more widely in appointing and removing governments and ministers than Havel or Klaus, who were elected by parliament. By contrast, Zeman used his legislative powers less than his two predecessors, which was apparently influenced by their low success (with some exceptions) in this area. The president’s political proximity to the government was found to only sometimes limit his agility. Czech presidents have rarely been passive. A specific factor that affected activism, albeit only to a limited extent, was the poor health of Havel and Zeman at certain moments. To reduce systemic risks in the future, it would be useful to define more precisely the rules for appointing and dismissing a government and individual ministers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Poland’s Conservative Idea for the European Union?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The aim of this article is to propose the term ‘illiberal neo-intergovernmentalism’ (IN) to describe and explain Poland’s EU concept promoted by the government and some scholars after 2015. The methodology, based on decision, factor and comparative analyses, is of qualitative nature. The main idea is the assumption that Polish vision can be treated as a concept contributing to theory building. The research question relates to the positioning of the Polish concept against the background of other approaches: due to its significant distance from the functionalist trend, a connection with the intergovernmentalist theories is assumed. Two hypotheses are presented, and their verification shows that the main weakness of the Polish concept is the lack of paradigmatic rooting. The ‘Eurorealist’ illiberal neo-intergovernmentalism has not been created as a result of the evolutionary development of well-founded views typical of the intergovernmental trend and seems to disregard all previous theoretical achievements. Referring to realism alone, without defining the continuity of thought, is not enough to recognise the concept as a realist one. Therefore, this vision does not have explanatory values, while its normative character is the result of the adoption of Eurosceptic and ultraconservative ideology.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Impact of Electoral Gender Quotas on Women’s Political Participation in Bosnia and Herzegovina<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Although representing half of the world population, women remain largely excluded from political power and government structures. Various strategies have been introduced to increase women’s political representation, including electoral gender quotas. This paper explores the impact of electoral gender quotas on women’s quantitative participation in politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, analysing quota impact in combination with other related factors, such as the quota design, implementation and broader political context. A diversity of techniques has been used to collect a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, including academic resources collection and analysis, desk research, statistical data analysis and online questionnaire. The paper argues that electoral gender quotas have generally had a positive impact on getting women elected in BiH, though their efficacy depends on their formulation and other aspects of electoral law. Still, quantitative representation of women is not sufficient to facilitate their agency in politics. Social attitudes also continue to affect the electoral success of women once they secure a spot on the candidate list. Therefore, quotas must be implemented within a broader democratic, accountable and gender-sensitive political context to deliver qualitative representation of women in politics. Finally, the paper offers concrete recommendations to promote women’s political participation in BiH.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Knowledge on Environmental Peacebuilding: the social context of its diffusion in international politics and what it says about it<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the last two decades, environmental peacebuilding (EPBL) has become a rapidly growing field of research and practice and today, EPBL is embedded in academia, policy making, and education, as well as in practice. The goal here is to learn more about the social complexity and context of the production of expert knowledge on environmental peacebuilding (EPBL) and its diffusion in international politics in the period from 1990s to 2008. It was also discussed what the analysis of social context says about EPBL, and its diffusion. We conclude that as expert knowledge, EPBL emerged in practice, not in academia, and developed within narrow relations in a very small group of conservationists, scholars, and practitioners. Since the end of the 1990s, EPBL has spread globally, being distributed because it has been collectively enacted through relations and mediated by the intersubjective meanings and artefacts such as guidelines, projects, policies, conferences, reports, and books.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue energy trade: The EU’s position and energy security<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Increasing energy consumption and ensuring the supply of energy resources in sufficient quantities and changes in the energy mix of individual countries and regions are a pressing issue today. Besides their economic dimension, energy and energy policy also carry geopolitical and security importance. The ecological and social aspect is increasingly important; issues related to the availability of resources, stability of supply, efficiency and fuel prices are becoming more common and pressing. This study has expanded on the subject of energy dependence to include the concept of interdependence. It has also delved into international trade, incorporating this plane to provide a broad international dimension and emphasise the need to strengthen the energy security of individual states. The aim of this article is to show the gravity of the EU’s unilateral Russian-dominated import focus and the possibility of reshaping the pattern of energy imports into the EU. The analysis of energy trade has drawn on an interpretation of the outputs of available data, with the caveat that the war in Ukraine has limited momentum in this area. The results of the subject explored here are presented in the form of a discourse on opportunities to redirect trade and strengthen the EU’s energy security. The European Union, as a primary-energy import region, must revisit the territorial structure of its primary-energy imports, diversify its suppliers, change the energy mix and interconnect energy infrastructure by deploying new technologies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Parameters vs Voting Behaviour in the Polish Presidential Election in 2020: Poviat level analysis<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Voting behaviour is affected by various factors and the effect varies in individual countries. Economic and geographic factors are among the major criteria taken into account in electorate segmentation. The present study analyses them in the case of the Polish presidential election in 2020, held under the circumstances of strong polarisation within the society and controversies surrounding the rule-of-law and democratic standards. The present study analyses voter turnout and results of the second round of the election, focusing on the subregional level of poviats (counties). The analysis considers macroeconomic factors (such as GDP per capita, unemployment rate, average remuneration), financial condition of the local government (measured by budgetary revenues) and urbanisation (comparing the biggest cities to other counties). The findings confirm correlation between the macroeconomic parameters of the subregion and voter turnout. In the case of voting results, the hypotheses concerning macroeconomic parameters and the status of the biggest cities are confirmed, but there’s no evidence of correlation of the average remuneration on the poviat level and support for the centre-liberal candidate.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue the state of emergency create an opportunity for democratic erosion? Lessons from post-communist Central and Southeast Europe<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper’s key puzzle is the variation in lockdown-related democratic decline in the region of Central and Southeast Europe given the incumbents’ ideological and regime (dis)similarity. Why did similar regimes not respond to the pandemic in the same manner by using the opportunity to grab more executive power and diminish the authority of other institutions? While some argue that a state of emergency provides an ideal opportunity for democratic decline due to reduced costs, others believe that autocratic regimes with a ‘pre-existing condition for autocracy’ are more vulnerable. To contribute to this discussion, I examine three examples from post-communist Central and Southeast Europe (Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia) during the pandemic-related state of emergency and lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. I consider several relevant factors, the most important of which is the prospect of winning the next election. To erode democracy, autocratic incumbents must feel insecure about the outcome of the next election to use the opportunity created by the state of emergency. If they are uncertain of victory, they may prefer to expand their executive powers during the state of emergency, thus undermining democracy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Respect to Nazi Allusions: The Changing Emotional Climates of Fidesz Towards Germany after 1990<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper aims to enhance our understanding of the foreign policy of Hungary by looking at the emotional underpinnings of the relationship between Fidesz and Germany. Inspired by the ‘emotional turn’ in social sciences in general, and IR in particular, this paper charts the changing ways in which Fidesz politicians (both in government and opposition) have perceived Germany and German politics on an emotional level since 1990. We show how a mostly positive emotional climate before 2010 slowly turned into anger, culminating in repeated allusions to Germany’s Nazi past. The main question is: how can we account for the fluctuations in the way Fidesz politicians have perceived Germany over the past three decades? While ‘rational’ policy disagreements have certainly played a part (i.e. on migration), they cannot explain on their own the ever intensifying anger on the part of Fidesz decision-makers, especially as the two countries are still close political and economic partners and share a wide range of common interests. Complementing rational approaches, we propose that ‘collective narcissism’ informs the general emotional disposition of key Fidesz figures since 2014, leading to a continuing estrangement between the successive Orbán governments and its German partners.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Distance and Representation in Closed PR List: Revisiting the U-Curve Argument<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The authors are testing the patterns of geographical representation in single nationwide district closed-list PR systems, in the framework of an earlier study made by Latner and McGann (2005), who suggested that MPs mostly reside in central metropolitan areas, as well as in distant regions, to the detriment of descriptive representation of areas adjacent to the capital. In this way, spatial distance serves as an incentive for parties to nominate lists comprised mostly of candidates from metropolitan urban centres who can easily reach the mid-distance municipalities for campaigning and constituency service, but also of those candidates residing in peripheral regions in which there is some sort of political or ethno-cultural saliency, prompting the voters to prefer their local candidates over capital city politicians. Authors are offering a novel approach of measuring and comparing spatial distance to the data on representation of local administrative units and regional subdivisions of four countries (Montenegro, Netherlands, Serbia and Slovakia). While the findings indeed indicate overrepresentation of capital cities and underrepresentation of neighbouring areas, the representation of peripheral areas is not significantly pronounced and seemingly depends more on a contextual case-to-case basis than on a general pattern related to spatial distance producing political or ethno-cultural saliency.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue