EU Conditionality at Work in the Accession Process of Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary, Minorities and the Criteria of 'Good Neighborliness'

Master's Thesis, 2007

77 Pages


Table of contents

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 The Concept of EU conditionality – “ Norms and Nannies”
2.1 EU Conditionality and the Western “ Nannies”
2.2 Return to the West – Conceptionalization of the Receiving End
2.3 Domestic and Alternative Explanations
2.4 Putting Theory into Practice
2.5 Europeanisation

3. Historical Background
3.1 The Trianon Syndrome
3.2 Prescribed Silence during Communism
3.3 The 1980’s – Solidarity Movement for the Forgotten Ones Beyond the Borders

4. EU conditionality and Hungarian Foreign Policy
4.1 The Antall Government and the Holy Trinity of Foreign Policy
4.2 Pressure is Needed – the Csurka Essay and the CoE Veto
4.3 Active Leverage – the Bilateral Treaties
4.3.1 The Slovak-Hungarian Basic Treaty
4.3.2 The Romanian-Hungarian Basic Treaty

5. EU pressure not needed anymore? – The Status Law
5.1 Individual Rights, Group Rights, and the Hungarian perspective
5.2 The Status Law and the Debate about European standards

6. Conclusion

7. Annex
7.1 Remarks concerning Terminology
7.2 Numbers of Hungarian Minorities outside Hungary
7.3 Maps
7.4 The Economic Gap between the EU-15 and the Candidate Countries


List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

„If we want to join Europe, then we have to behave like Europeans, and it is precisely for this reason that it is very important that we handle the minority problem within and outside our borders in an understandable and respectable way”

Tamás Katona, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official1

The statement of this Hungarian Member of Parliament during one of the first meetings of the first democratically elected Hungarian Parliament, after the fall of Communism, gives a kind of forecast on one of the most debated and problematic issues in the context of Hungary’s accession process to the European Union during the 1990’s.

Hungary, one of the Central European states that freed itself from Communist rule through a peaceful and negotiated revolution during 1988/1989, entered the post-Cold War era with a considerable unsolved national ’problem’, or the „minority problem” as Katona points out. This ’problem’ is constituted by the existance of more than 2 million ethnic Hungarians living as national minority groups in its neighbouring states. The particuliarity of this problem does not only derive from the size of the minority groups – which is approximately third of the Hungarian state’s total population2 - but also from the fact that the post-1989 era was one of the first opportunities in Hungarian history when the state could actually lead a sovereign foreign policy. The issue of loosing territory and population to neighbouring states following the end of the First and the Second World War respectively, which was a widespread occurence throughout whole Central and Eastern Europe, would normally be regarded as a historic fact and not an issue of contemporary politics in the 1990’s since more than fifty years had passed. However, the Communist dictatorship in Hungary made it impossible to ’digest’ the problem. Several scholars also argue that Communist rule ’froze’ certain problems relating to ethnicity or nationalism that did not fit Communist ideology3. Hence, concern for Hungarian minorities beyond the border became embedded in the Hungarian Constitution4, and its reflection in actual politics was that it constituted one of the three newly formulated foreign policy priorities of all Hungarian governments during the 1990’s. These priorities were formulated by the first government under Antall5, but they were reflected in the programmes of all parties that received seats during the first free elections6. The so-called „holy trinity” of Hungarian foreign policy, consisting of „concern for the Magyar7 diaspora, good relations with its immediate neighbours, and membership in Western institutions”8, continued to shape and define Hungarian foreign politics throughout the 1990’s and [the] early years of the new millenium9.

„If we want to join Europe, we have to behave like Europeans” – this part of the quote highlights the connection between the three foreign policy goals. As most Central and Eastern European states, Hungary wanted to join the Western European community of states by entering the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and most importantly the European Union. Accession to these organisations was accompanied by multiple conditions, and the Hungarian state had to adjust also its foreign policies to the ’European way’. This means that in order to fulfil the third goal, membership in Western institutions, the politics for fulfilling the first goal effectively could not be pursued totally freely. It also hints to the more complex nature of the interrelation of the three goals. The fate of the Hungarian minorities is dependent on their treatment by their host country, which in turn can heavily influence and be influenced by the quality of bilateral relations. Membership in Western institutions can enhance as well as disturb10 Hungary’s relation to its minorities but is essential for viability and economic prosperity of the Hungarian state itself. While most scholars agree that the order of priority among the three goals depended on the political orientation of the respective government, it is certain that becoming a member of the European Union in fact was the main priority preceding the other goals. As Kende formulated it quite vigorously, “The debate about this issue had often been a merely rhetoric question, because no official responsible for Hungarian foreign policy could nor was willing to ignore that admission to the NATO and the European Union dominated the others.”11. Thus, one can derive from this that the way in which foreign policy was pursued, in order to enhance the situation of Hungarian minorities, had to be conducted in a way that it would not obstruct the process of rapprochement to the EC/EU, in the early 1990’s, and after application for membership in 1994, the accession process in the middle and late 1990’s.

The case of Hungary is highly interesting in this respect. While the country was always cited as one of the forerunners among the Central and Eastern European candidates for EU enlargement, and its accession process was called a “success story” by Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen in 200012, its national interest and their translation into foreign politics during the early 1990’s caused some concern among Western observers. In the context of a general feeling of insecurity concerning the whole Eastern European region, the fact that the new Hungarian state was in a way testing its possibilities how it could act in the interest of its ethnic kin in its neighbouring countries, alarmed EU officials and Western politicians to put some pressure on the CEE states to settle cross-border issues before enlargement. Hence, in addition to the Copenhagen criteria for accession that were formulated in 1993, a so-called “fourth requirement” was the “good neighborliness”. As Vachudova puts it, “to prevent importing ‘foreign policy problems’ into the EU, it requires East European states to resolve disputes and establish good relations with their neighbours”13. Since relations with its neighbours and the fate of its minorities is strongly interconnected in the Hungarian case, this condition for EU accession became one of the most important and problematic ones for Hungary. Furthermore, given the strong fear of Western European governments and public opinion of ‘importing insecurity’ from Eastern Europe, the requirement concerning good neighbourly relations – in essence, regional stability and peace – “was enforced first and most vigorously by EU governments …”14

In this context, the following essay seeks to explore the effects of EU pressure in the framework of the concept of ‘accession conditionality’ in the case of Hungarian foreign policy. I argue that the concrete pressure by the EU and Western European governments led the Hungarian governments to moderate their foreign policy towards their neighbours. This foreign policy was clearly formulated in the aim of acting in the interest of its ethnic minorities living in the neighbouring states. At the same time, the mechanisms of ‘conditionality’ cannot be explained in a simplified and mono-causal way. First, internal politics, meaning elections, public opinion, as well as competition among different political parties, play a role, too, and do also intermingle with the process of EU accession. Second, in the context of the Hungarian ‘minority problem’, the ‘European factor’ does not only determine the course of action in the more visible and direct way of EU accession conditionality, but is also apparent in the discussion about norms and practices and the debate about different ways of minority protection in the context of human rights.

Furthermore, I argue that the EU pressure on Hungary to moderate its foreign policies and conclude bilateral agreements with its neighbours was highly effective during the early 1990’s in an insecure geopolitical situation, and during the first years after Hungary’s application for EU membership. When the Central European region seemed to be stabilized, most countries were promised to accede around 2003 and accession negotiations were developing in a satisfactory way, a new phenomenon emerged : the issue of Hungarian minorities seized to be regarded as a problem of regional security. Instead, while the EU was in the meantime convinced that Hungary and its neighbours could solve disputes concerning this issue peacefully on a bilateral basis, the CEE countries wished to find common ‘European norms’ concerning minority protection. While Hungary and its neighbours had hoped to find the solution in European integration, it became increasingly clear that the EU is not interested in getting involved with or setting norms for handling the issue of national minorities, unless it poses a real threat in terms of conflicts among states.

The argument will be developed as follows: first, Chapter II describes theories and concepts about EU conditionality and conditionality in international relations in order to clarify terminology and definitions and to prepare a theoretical background for the interpretation of Hungarian foreign policy in the first half of the 1990’s. It finishes by giving a short summary of the theory of Europeanisation that provides a conceptual background for norm diffusion from European institutions to CEE governments. Chapter 3 provides a historical background to the problem by shortly summarizing the changes of the Hungarian border following the two World Wars and the treatment of, or rather silence, about the minority issue during Communism. This historical background is essential in order to understand why the minority issue has been such a sensitive and important topic for Hungarian governments. Chapters 4.1 and 4.2 analyse the rather nationalistic foreign politics of the Antall government and the resulting concern on the side of the EU, while Chapter 4.3 deals with the concrete application of pressure by the EU on the second post-Communist Hungarian government under Gyula Horn, that resulted in the adoption of bilateral treaties with Slovakia and Romania. Chapter 5, the second part of the paper, attempts to demonstrate the stabilization of the relation between Hungary and the EU and the resulting change in the attitude of the EU towards the Hungarian minority issue. This will be done by taking the example of the so-called ‘Status Law’, the law on Hungarians living in neighbouring countries that was adopted in 2001 by the Hungarian Parliament and provoked criticism by its neighbours as well as the Council of Europe. In this respect, Chapter 5.1 first gives a concise overview of the current academic discussion concerning individual and group rights in the international protection of minorities and Hungary’s view on this subject. Chapter 5.2 deals with the Status Law, its repercussions in neighbouring states and the related discussions in European fora. These two chapters also analyse the use of the terms ‘Europe’ and ‘European’ as a justification for political practices and in the discussion about minority rights, in order to show the changed impact of the EU as well as its perception and role for the CEE states. Finally, Chapter 6 concludes by attempting to answer the question “how Hungary might have behaved without the existence of EU pressure?”.

2. The Concept of EU conditionality – “Norms and Nannies”

“The EU stood to gain from its political and economic relationship with Eastern Europe. But Eastern Europe stood to gain much, much more. This gave the EU significant bargaining power …”15

In general, the concept of conditionality can be connected to development aid, accession to organisations, and it is interrelated with the concepts of norm diffusion, actors, modes of action, the power distribution in a bilateral or multilateral relationship and the concept of ‘Europeanization’ in the European case. In analyzing accession conditionality of the EU (as well as NATO and the CoE to a certain extent), some scholars also use the IR theory of realism to explain motives behind actions as well as rational-choice theory.

Jeffrey Checkel provides a very basic and neutral definition of conditionality: he defines it as “the use of incentives to alter a state’s behaviour or policies”. The author adds that “it is a basic strategy through which international institutions promote compliance by national governments”16. Hugh, Sasse and Gordon place the term ‘international conditionality’ in the context of the “delivery of foreign aid and development assistance”17. Furthermore, they refer to Stokke who states that “conditionality is not an aim in itself but an instrument by which other objectives are pursued”18. This thought is dominant in most academic works about conditionality because almost all authors assume that there is some kind of rational interest on both ends of the relationship that the actors want to pursue by entering a relationship of ‘conditionality’, or more precisely a relationship where one actor complies to fulfil conditions set by another actor. Furthermore, Hugh, Sasse and Gordon, as well as Schimmelfennig, agree that conditionality can be “positive” or “negative”, the first is rewarding compliance, while the latter is punishing “the lack thereof”19.

2.1 EU Conditionality and the Western “Nannies”

EU conditionality emerged with the applications for membership of the Central and Eastern European states and, in particular, with the insecure geopolitical situation that was triggered by the end of Communism. While membership in the EU became the primary goal of most Central European governments already during 1989, Western European states engaged in a kind of ‘democracy-promotion’ and development aid in order to stabilise the region. According to Hugh, Sasse and Gordon, Western Europe took “advantage of the political opportunities created by the fall of communism” and “placed a much greater emphasis on the export of ‘Western’ political norms” on the basis of the notion that “there was a ‘symbiosis between democracy and development”20. Hence, in line with Stokke, one can argue that the members of the European Union attached conditions to the accession of the CEEs to the EU in order to export ‘Western’, or their own concepts and understandings of democracy, comprising the political as well as economic organisation of the state, to Eastern Europe.

In their rather critical analysis of EU conditionality, Hugh, Sasse and Gordon argue that the interest of Western Europe to ‘export’ their norms and concepts is based on the “neo-liberal ideology” that “favours … coupling of economic and political conditionality”21. According to the authors, “the removal of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe created new security and economic national interests for the USA and the member states of the EU, and opened new opportunities for them to advance and protect these interests”22. The logic of the argument is that Western European states are all liberal democracies that favour neo-liberal ideology in particular concerning the economic order, which is basically defined by low state intervention in the economy. Hence, export of this principle to states that are weak and non-interventionist (since they just abolished the overtly interventionist policy of a Communist market structure) can be in the economic interest of Western European states. Export of this model that they regard as successful guarantees regional stability and security.

Schimmelfennig developes a similar argumentation, however he focuses rather on a cultural perception, namely that of common norms concerning the definition of a democracy. In line with the argument of Hugh, Sasse and Gordon, Schimmelfennig claims that the “collective identity” of the “Western international community” is based on “liberal norms of domestic and international conduct”, “liberal human rights” and “in the domestic realm, …liberal principles of social and political order”23. This claim is placed in the general framework of analysis where the mechanisms of conditionality are explained by norms, “nannies” (actors), impacts, mechanisms, and (domestic) conditions. The liberal norms are thus the “community norms” that “interrelate with the collective identity of an international community”, and these norms define this international community in a “behavioural” sense24.

The ‘export’ of norms and systems in order to make sure that Eastern European states develop according to the Western model is also in line with realist international relations theory. In this view, the Western European “hegemonic states” use the EU in order to “impose cooperation on weaker states”. However, Vachudova adds that according to this logic, the weakest states would be the most likely to comply with EU conditions, while this was not the case.25

2.2 Return to the West – Conceptualization of the Receiving End

“In Central Europe, and its Eastern part, the meaning of ‘Europe’ has always been equal to ‘Western Europe’…”26

Program of SZDSZ, the Hungarian Liberal Democrats (1989)

The last paragraph describes the attitudes of the actors, on the one side, of the relationship. However, in order to make a relation based on conditionality work in practice, the actor, on the other side, has to be receptive to the rewards offered and the obligations imposed. In fact, conditionality can only work if the actor on the ‘weaker end’ perceives the rewards, in the EU case membership in the European Union, as being worth accepting all obligations. In the case of the Eastern EU enlargement, there was a very strong motivation of the CEE states to ‘return to Europe’ as soon as possible after 1989. Becoming a member of the EU presented the practical as well as symbolic manifestation of this return. Only this circumstance made the mechanism of conditionality possible27. One should not underestimate the importance and positive connotation that is attached to ‘the West’, ‘Western Europe’, or simply the EU in the CEEs – all terms refer to the same thing from an Eastern European point of view, namely the rich, wealthy and exemplary democratic states in Western Europe28. In particular after the collapse of the Communist system, “to a great extent elites and publics now equated Europe with the EU”29. As Vachudova illustrates, “Even before the street demonstrators had gone home in Prague in November 1989, incoming democratic leaders of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary had singled out joining the EU as their most important foreign policy goal.”30 Schimmelfennig confirms exactly the same: “Most CEE governments early on made the ‘return to Europe’ their central foreign policy strategy, claimed to belong to the West and share its values, and vowed to follow Western models and adopt its norms.”31 According to most authors, this ‘return to Europe’ entailed a symbolic, or more political motivation as well as an economical one. Hungary was no exception in this case, as President Árpád Göncz made it clear in his speech at NATO in 1996: “For Hungary, accession to all institutions of security and cooperation in Europe constitutes the most significant means to achieve complete and irreversible reintegration into Europe …”32.

Mattli and Plümper argue that “the desire of the CEEs to join the EU is fuelled by a strong sense of identification with liberal democratic values that are fundamental to the EU”33. After the Communist system had failed in all respects, the CEEs needed some kind of ‘model’ of democracy and found it in the liberal democracies of Western Europe. István Horváth, who had been Hungarian ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany during the system change, reports about the massive amounts of information about the German political system that the Hungarian embassy had sent back home:

“In these times we were sending large quantities of information material to Budapest on the organisation of the different German political parties, on their structure, the certain rules relating to factions in Parliament, … on the legal aspects of basic party organisations …We prepared innumerable material on the German election system, on the party legislation, on the German constitution”34

This example demonstrates that CEEs, or Hungary in this case, was trying to build its new democratic system according to a Western European model which it admired, and the Hungarian electoral system as well as its Constitutional Court is indeed modelled in the style of the German one. Similarly, Wade asserts that “some CEE elites voluntarily looked to Western Europe for general templates in which they used the West European model …”. In line with Horváth’s report, Wade furthermore points to the familiarity of some CEE experts with “Western practices, either from careful study, extended exchange visits, or years in exile in the West”35.

From this one can derive that most CEEs were very receptive to what Hugh, Sasse and Gordon call the “ mission civilisatrice ” approach of Western Europe, where the EU’s “normative power” is reflected in the fact that “the political and economic models in core member states were seen as normatively ‘superior’ and readily transferable to displace ‘inferior’ models in candidate countries”36. Most evidence suggests that the CEEs actually themselves perceived Western European models and norms as ‘superior’. Finally, according to Schimmelfennig, the CEE states simply have ‘no other choice’: “there is no competing standard of legitimacy in the European regional system that would openly challenge the Western norms”37.

In addition to the symbolic and political value of joining EU, the economic benefits are described as enormous by all authors. According to Mattli and Plümper, “the appeal of membership resides in the promise of technical and financial assistance, rapid economic growth, and prosperity”38. According to Vachudova, in the early 1990’s the “EU’s greatest source of power remained its enormous market”39. Vachudova points to the fact that by realising the economic power of the EU and engaging in a strong economic rapprochement to the EU during the early 1990’s, they maximized their own economic as well as political dependence on the EU. This is amongst others evidenced by the growth of trade relations manifested in the Europe Agreements between the individual CEE countries and the EU40. The author points to the theory of institutionalism according to which “the one who gains more from the relationship is the more dependent”41. While it is not certain who is gaining more from EU enlargement in the long run, the CEEs had many more reasons to join the EU during the 1990’s than the old EU members had to enlarge to the East42.

2.3 Domestic and Alternative Explanations

Finally, certain authors point to the fact that domestic factors do have an influence on the mechanism of conditionality as well. According to Schimmelfennig, the asymmetrical relation between the EU and its candidates was even enhanced by the fact that the “domestic structure of the CEEs … is characterized by weak societies and strong states43. However, at the same time the public played a great role as an electorate that was strongly in favour of EU membership and often judging the respective government in this light44. According to Wade, the “electoral benefits of pro-EU membership … policies have been more impressive than one might think …”45, pointing to a further incentive for CEE elites to comply with EU norms.

Some alternative explanations of conditionality or even more radical ones are provided by the theories of ‘rational institutionalism’ and ‘sociological institutionalism’. These theories both imply that there exists a strongly rational motivation to accede the EU on the side of the candidates, and that complying with the accession conditions is solely done in order to become a member, without necessarily being convinced or adapting to the norms. Rational institutionalism argues that motivation for complying is driven by the “material interests” of the elites, being “strategic utility-maximizers”46, while sociological institutionalism argues that actors only pretend to adopt practices “because they simply want to be one of the club”, while they are not always “persuaded”47.

Wade points out that sociological institutionalism is helpful to understand the strong acceptance of CEE elites of the EU monitoring their behaviour because the reports help them to pursue exactly that behaviour that the EU expects them to perform. However, Kende provided another explanation for this phenomenon, why the CEEs allow close monitoring which means an intrusion into their newly gained sovereign spheres. This explanation is in line with historical institutionalism that points to the fact that “many facets of CEE politics can only be understood in light of historical antecedents”48. Kende argued in 1991 that “the small East European nations are constantly busy with asking themselves what ‘the world’ thinks about them, and if it thinks about them at all.”49 This points again to the geopolitical gains that the CEEs see in EU membership, being rather small and insignificant countries in contrast with the leading big Western European states.

Critics of conditionality theory emphasize the dominance of Western European interests in the accession process50 and the absence of political dialogue through which the “applicant state preferences have been consistently marginalized”51. Furthermore, Schimmelfennig points to the gap between rhetorical adaptation to EU norms and legal codification of practices and their actual implementation, which can happen if the conditions put forward by sociological institutionalism, prevail.

2.4 Putting Theory Into Practice

It is thus clear that the Western European states engaged in ‘democratizing’ the East by attaching profound conditions to EU membership, while the CEEs accepted these conditions on the basis of their high appreciation of Western Europe as well as the economic benefits they hoped for. These circumstances point to two mechanisms, that are enumerated by most authors as preconditions for democratic conditionality to work in practice. First, conditionality works best if an asymmetrical relationship exists. Second, the actor on the receiving end has to be convinced himself of the norms the ‘nanny’, in Schimmelfennig’s words, seeks to impose.

The asymmetrical relationship is given by the strong differences in economic power, in particular in the beginning of the 1990’s. Hence the PHARE funds, which were originally designed rather as a kind of aid policy and were initially not linked to accession, provided one of the ‘rewards’ contained in the concept of positive conditionality. According to Hugh, Sasse and Gordon, “within the Commission an institutional culture that viewed assistance to the CEEs in terms of an asymmetric power relationship between ‘donors’ and ‘recipients’ was strengthened”52. Vachudova argues that the “magnitude” of benefits of EU membership of the CEEs “created a profoundly asymmetrical power relationship between aspiring candidates and the EU”. According to this author, this relationship “would shape all of their dealings with the EU”53. Schimmelfennig also explains the “bargaining power” of the EU by its economic superiority and adds the fact that while the CEEs had to negotiate with the EU individually, the EU was sitting with all its member states on the other side of the table54. Furthermore, Vachudova also adds that the “asymmetrical interdependence” was even enhanced by the fact that the EU member states did not really want to enlarge in the first place, and that the “requirements of EU membership … were designed to keep undesirable states out of the EU, … not to coax … every eligible state into making itself desirable”55.

All authors agree that EU conditionality, or more precisely, democratic conditionality materialises best if the domestic forces in a certain country believe in the norms and practices required56. Democratic conditionality in this sense refers to the “fundamental political principles of the EU”57 enshrined in international documents such as the Charter of Paris, the ‘Declaration on Human Rights’ of the Luxembourg Summit of June 1991, novel clauses concerning democracy and human rights in the Maastricht Treaty as well as the political Copenhagen criteria58. Vachudova distinguishes between “liberal” and “illiberal” governments and argues that the EU’s leverage was most successful in liberal regimes59. Mattli and Plümper also argue that “Generally, the more democratic a regime, the greater the political will, and thus the more successful the process of implementing pro-integration regulatory reforms”60.

In the case of the ‘liberal’ regimes, democratic conditionality “started from the early days of the post-communist transformations …”61. In this context, Vachudova distinguishes between “active” and “passive leverage”: “By passive leverage I mean the attraction of EU membership, and by active leverage I mean the deliberate conditionality exercised in the EU’s pre-accession process”62. In the analysed case of Hungary, most probably one has to rely on a mixture of passive and active leverage. Vachudova defines passive leverage as “the traction that the EU has on the domestic politics … merely by virtue of its existence” before the state entered accession negotiations. One might argue that Hungary could have pursued a much harsher foreign policy if the prospect of EU membership would not have existed.

Indeed, another aspect emphasized by several authors is ‘credibility’ – “credibility of the EU’s threat to withhold rewards in case of non-compliance”63 as well as in the fact that they can accede the EU in the foreseeable future64. Kelley concludes a mixture of rational choice theory and credibility. According to her, “the ideal circumstance for the use of conditionality is when countries believe they have a fair chance of admission but cannot take it for granted.”65

2.5 Europeanisation

The concept of Europeanisation has to be mentioned briefly since Chapter 5 touches upon issues that are also linked to the rather vague and novel concept of Europeanization. According to Hugh, Sasse and Gordon, this concept is a „rather nebulous notion” and there is „still no coherent explanatory framework”66. The authors give the definition of Europeanization as a „’top-down’ diffusion of common political rules, norms and practices in Europe” and more broadly it is overlapping with EU conditionality as it „is most often associated with ’domestic adaptation to the pressures emanating directly or indirectly from EU membership’”67. Major and Pomorska provide a more complex definition of Europeanisation that contains three elements: “’uploading’: the projection of national preferences to the EU level ...”, „’downloading’: the reception of EU-generated incentives and their integrationinto the national level” (the same as „top-down diffusion” of Hugh, Sasse and Gordon) and „‘crossloading’: the exchange of ideas, normsand ‘ways of doing’ things between countriesor other entities for which the EU sets thescene; thus change is not only ‘due’ to but takes place ‘within’ Europe.”68

While Europeanization, in general, rather refers to the more concrete legislative process in areas of the first pillar, its conceptualization concerning foreign politics might also apply to the Hungarian case. While adoption of European norms in the sphere of foreign politics are regarded as relatively „voluntaristic”, the EU nevertheless seems to provide a forum for discussions that can evolve into a „learning process about good policy practice” and a „platform for policy transfer”69.

Radaelli provides a similarly interwoven definition as Major & Pomorska:

„Europeanisation consists of processes of a) construction, b) diffusion and c) institutionalisation of formal and informal rules, procedures, policy paradigms, styles, 'ways of doing things' and shared beliefs and norms which are first defined and consolidated in the EU policy process and then incorporated in the logic of domestic (national and subnational) discourse, political structures andpublic policies.”70

Furthermore, Radaelli regards Europeanisation as a process, and as a mixture of existing theories rather than a new one. The nature of Europeanisation as a process is interesting if one considers enlargement and the question of norm diffusion, which, in contrast to conditionality theory, could diffuse in both directions according to Major and Pomorska’s as well as Radaelli’s definitions. Radaelli however warns in applying Europeanisation theory too easily, since in his view in order to detect its effects, “Europeanisation … must precede change”71. He argues that Europeanisation actually “takes place when …The EU becomes a cognitive and normative frame, and provides orientation to the logics of meaning and action.”72. It is debatable in how far one can apply this notion to Hungarian minority politics, however as it is demonstrated below, CEE governments often argue that they act in the logic of an EU normative framework.


1 Hungarian Parliament, Information Service, 6. ülésnap (1990.05.23). Available at:, 20.04.2007. My translation from Hungarian to English.

2 The population of Hungary amounts to 10 million, concerning the sizes of Hungary’s ethnic minorities abroad, see Annex 7.2 and 7.3, Map 5.

3 Andre Liebich, ‘Ethnic Minorities and Long-Term Implications of EU Enlargement’, EUI Working Paper RSC No 98/49, 1998. Available at:, 28.03.2007, p. 3.

4 Art. 6 Para 3 of the amended Constitution reads as follows:

“The Republic of Hungary bears a sense of responsibility for the fate of Hungarians living outside its borders and shall promote and foster their relations with Hungary.” Hungarian Parliament, Information service, Act XX of 1949, The Constitution of the Republic of Hungary. Available at:, 16.03.2007.

5 József Antall was the first Hungarian prime minister after 1989.

6 Géza Herczegh & Lajos Arday & János Johancsik, Magyarország nemzetközi kapcsolatainak története, Zrinyi Miklós Nemzetvédelmi Egyetem Politikaelmélet Tanszék, Budapest, 2001, pp. 275-289.

7 Magyar refers to ‘Hungarian’ in Hungarian language and is used by many authors in English, French or German to differentiate between citizens of the Hungarian state and Hungarian minorities abroad.

8 Thomas Ambrosio, ‘Vanquishing the Ghost of Trianon: Preventing Hungarian Irredentism through Western Integration’, in: Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, III, 1, 2004, p. 40.

9 The three goals are listed in academic literature in all possible orders, hinting to the fact that the order does not represent political priorities. Pierre Kende cites the goals in a reverse order: “intégrér l’espace euro-atlantique, developer des relations de bon voisinage avec les États frontaliers, se préoccuper enfin du sort des Magyars en situation minoritaire”. Pierre Kende, Le Défi Hongrois. De Trianon Á Bruxelles. Paris, Buchet/Chastel, Paris, 2004, p. 242.

10 In general, European integration and membership in European organisations are seen as enhancing Hungary’s possibilities to act in the interest of its minorities, however it can also pose practical problems. The extension of the Schengen area as a factor impeding contacts between Hungarians living in non-EU countries and Hungary was regarded as such a problem. See also ‘Schengen: A great challenge’ in ‘Budapest avid for EU membership and a middle class’, euro-east, no. 71, November 1998.

11 E.g. Kende, op.cit., note 9, p. 243. My translation from French to English. The original quote says: “Le débat sur ce point fut souvent essentiellement une affaire de pure rhétorique, car aucun responsible de la politique extérieure hongroise ne pouvait ni ne voulait ignorer que l’admission dans l’OTAN et l’entrée dans l’Union européenne primaient sur tout le reste”

12 ‘More applause for the EU’s leading candidate’, euro-east, no. 91, September 2000.

13 Milada Anna Vachudova, Europe Undivided. Democracy, Leverage & Integration After Communism. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York, 2005, p. 120.

14 Ibid., p. 121.

15 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 82.

16 Jeffrey T. Checkel, ’Compliance and Conditionality’, in: ARENA Working Papers, 2000, University of Oslo. Available at:, 16.03.2007, p. 1.

17 James Hughes & Gwendolyn Sasse & Claire Gordon, Europeanization and regionalization in the EU’s enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe: the myth of conditionality. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills / Basingstoke / Hampshire / New York, 2004, p. 13.

18 Ibid., p. 14.

19 Ibid.; Frank Schimmelfennig, ‘Introduction: The Impact of International Organizations on the Central and Eastern European States – Conceptual and Theoretical Issues’, in: R.H. Linden (ed.), Norms and nannies : the impact of international organizations on the central and east European states, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, 2002, p. 8.

20 E.g. Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 15.

21 Ibid., p. 16.

22 Ibid.

23 E.g. Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 19, p. 6.

24 Ibid.

25 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit. note 13, p. 75. This argumentation is evidenced by the fact that for instance Romania, in a much weaker economic and geographic position than Hungary or Poland, was not receptive to EU leverage under its illiberal government before 1996.

26 Herczegh & Arday & Johancsik, op.cit., note 6, p. 275.

27 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13; e.g. Jacoby Wade, The enlargement of the European Union and NATO: ordering from the menu in Central Europe, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge / New York, 2004, p. 1.

28 Ronald H. Linden, ‘Putting on Their Sunday Best: Romania, Hungary, and the Puzzle of Peace’, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 44, 2000, p. 125-126.

29 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 84.

30 Ibid., p. 3.

31 E.g. Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 19, p. 10.

32 H. E. Árpád Göncz, President of the Republic of Hungary, ’Address’ before the North Atlantic Council, 16 September 1996, Brussels. Available at:, 04.04.2007.

33 Walter Mattli & Thomas Plümper, ’The demand-side politics of EU enlargement: democracy and the application for EU membership’, in: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 9, No. 4, 2002, p. 557.

34 István Horváth, Európa megkisértése, Láng Kiadó, 1994. My translation from Hungarian to English.

35 E.g. Wade, op.cit., note 27, p. 6.

36 E.g. Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 13.

37 E.g. Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 19, p. 16.

38 E.g. Mattli & Plümper, op.cit., note 33, p. 557.

39 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 66. See also Annex 7.4.

40 Ibid., pp. 68, 87-89.

41 Ibid., p. 68.

42 Mattli & Plümper for instance point to the great economic benefit that the CEEs derive from the inflow of transnational capital (see Mattli & Plümper, op.cit., note 33, p. 558). However, foreign direct investment is of course also benefiting the mostly Western European or multinational company.

43 E.g. Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 19, p. 17, emphasis in original.

44 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 127.

45 E.g. Wade, op.cit., note 27, p. 21.

46 Frank Schimmelfennig & Ulrich Sedelmeier, ’Governance by conditionality: EU rule transfer to the candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe’, in: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2004, p. 663.

47 Ibid., pp. 25-26.

48 E.g. Wade, op.cit., note 27, p. 24.

49 Péter Kende, A párizsi toronyból. Cserépfalvi, Szekszárd, 1991, p. 326.

50 E.g. Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 21

51 E.g. Checkel, op.cit., note 16, p. 7.

52 E.g. Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 12.

53 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 64.

54 E.g. Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 19, pp. 16-17.

55 Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 110.

56 E.g. Wade, op.cit., note 27, p. 5.

57 E.g. Schimmelfennig & Sedelmeier, op.cit., note 46, p. 669.

58 See amongst others Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 18; Schimmelfennig, op.cit., note 18, p. 7.

59 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, pp. 18-24. Vachudova divides post-Communist states into two groups, according to criteria of the main elements of liberal democracy. She argues that the key variable to the development of democracy after the fall of Communism was „the presence or absence of an organized opposition to the political order that preceded democracy” (p. 18).

60 E.g. Mattli & Plümper, op.cit., note 33, p. 559.

61 E.g. Schimmelfennig & Sedelmeier, op.cit., note 46, p. 669.

62 E.g. Vachudova, op.cit., note 13, p. 63.

63 E.g. Schimmelfennig & Sedelmeier, op.cit., note 46, p. 665.

64 E.g. Wade, op.cit., note 27, p. 185.

65 Judith Green Kelley, Ethnic Politics in Europe: the power of norms and incentives. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2004, p. 85.

66 E.g. Hugh & Sasse & Gordon, op.cit., note 17, p. 27.

67 Ibid.

68 Claudia Major & Karolina Pomorska, ‘Europeanisation: Framework or Fashion? , in: FORNET, CFSP Forum, A network of research and teaching on European Foreign Policy, Vol. 3, Issue 5, 2005. Available at:, 01.05.2007, p. 1-2.

69 Ibid., p. 3.

70 Claudio Radaelli, Europeanisation: Solution or Problem?, in: European Integration online papers, Vol. 8, No. 16, 2004. Available at:, 01.05.2007, p. 3.

71 Ibid., p. 9.

72 Ibid., p. 11.

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EU Conditionality at Work in the Accession Process of Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary, Minorities and the Criteria of 'Good Neighborliness'
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