The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 22 “Compliance after Conditionality: Why Are the European Union's New Member States So Good?” by Ulrich Sedelmeier has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
The good compliance record of the European Union’s post-communist new member states presents a puzzle for dominant approaches in the literature. This paper identifies two possible explanations for how the process of pre-accession conditionality can foster compliance after accession is achieved. The first explanation is that the then candidate countries created specialized administrative capacities for the implementation of EU legislation in preparation for EU membership. These specific capacities might be able to compensate for the otherwise generally weak public administration in the new members. Second, the process of pre-accession conditionality socialized the candidate countries into perceiving a link between compliance with the EU’s rules and appropriate behavior of good community members. Positive government attitudes towards European integration may therefore lead to better compliance in these new member states, while in the old member states the perception of a link between compliance and good membership is much weaker. Since the logic of these arguments suggests a differential impact of similar factors in old and new member states, the author conducts a two-step fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of compliance in both groups of member states. The results suggest that the two legacies of pre-accession conditionality continue to affect compliance in the new member states even after accession has been achieved.
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