European Integration and Democratic Backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe
Where: Columbia University
116th St. & Broadway
212-854-1754 Price: Free
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Please join the Harriman Institute and the European Institute for a talk with Laszlo Bruszt, Professor of Sociology at the Central European University, Budapest.
The EU, until lately, was seen as the key promoter of liberal democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); nowadays it is pictured as a helpless outsider with weak powers to halt processes of de-democratization in the region. Bruszt takes issue with the presentation of the EU as the passive external observer of democratic backsliding, and argues that the integration strategy of the EU plays an active role in the growth of illiberal regimes in CEE countries. The EU integration strategy imposes uniform rules on national economies burdened with dramatically different problems of economic development without leaving much room for the supranational politicization of negative developmental consequences. Such governance of economic integration makes the defense of sovereignty and the exclusionary representation of national interests the “trump card” in domestic politics. In such settings, illiberal elites in CEE countries with fragile party systems can extend the strategy of “defending sovereignty from Brussels” to a war against the internal enemies of national interests.
Laszlo Bruszt is Professor of Sociology at the Central European University, Budapest. Between 2004 and 2016 Bruszt taught at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His more recent studies deal with the politics of economic integration in the peripheries of Europe. His recent publications include “Making states for the single market: European integration and the reshaping of economic states in the Southern and Eastern peripheries of Europe” West European Politics; “The Governance of Market Integration and Development” Introduction to the Special Issue of the Studies in Comparative International Development; “Varieties of Dis-embedded Liberalism: EU Integration Strategies in the Eastern Peripheries of Europe” in Journal of European Public Policy; “Regional Normalization and National Deviations: EU Integration and the Backsliding of Democracy in Europe’s Eastern Periphery” in Global Policy Journal and Leveling the Playing Field: Transnational Regulatory Integration and Development (Oxford University Press, 2014; co-edited with McDermott, G.).