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The interplay between domestic politics and Europe: How Romanian civil society and government contested Europe before EU accession.

Parau, Cristina Elena (2006) The interplay between domestic politics and Europe: How Romanian civil society and government contested Europe before EU accession. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The key research questions of this dissertation are: 'How do domestic actors construct Europe.' and 'How do they utilise it in seeking to empower themselves against other actors.' The questions of construction and utilisation of Europe are some of the most topical questions in Europeanization. The first question addresses constructivist/sociological concerns. The second addresses the issue of winners and losers (differential empowerment). Both are key issues in the literature of Europeanization and yet have been little addressed in the context of post-communist EU accession countries. This dissertation aims to bridge this gap by focusing on the post-communist country of Romania, a soon to be EU member-State. The actors under investigation are civil society, which emerged in Romania for the first time ever after 1989 and the central government Executive. The study covers the period during which the EU acquis negotiations were negotiated under the Social Democratic government led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase (2000-2004). The data was gathered through in-depth case study and process-tracing, the methods found best able to disentangle a complex causal nexus. The Europeanization literature is contradictory with regard to which domestic actors are constrained and which empowered: some scholars theorise that it empowers civil society (Diffusion); others that it empowers the Executive (Executive Empowerment); still others that it promotes co-operation between them (Network Governance). The empirical evidence so far has been inconclusive. This dissertation shows that only a small elite made of civil society entrepreneurs and government Executives constructed and utilised Europe in the pre-membership phase, to empower themselves relative to other actors, particularly opponents. The empirical data support two of the classical Europeanization theses in the literature: the Diffusion and the Executive Empowerment Theses. The Diffusion Thesis better explains civil society empowerment near the beginning and at the peak of acquis negotiations, although some evidence also favours Executive Empowerment. This latter thesis better explains the powerlessness of civil society at the close of negotiations, although some evidence for Diffusion was also found. No evidence was found supporting Network Governance. Instead evidence was found in favour of its critics, namely support for the claim that the EU (or Europe) empowers an elite in both civil society and the State.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

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