Joining a Prestigious Club - Maria Shagina - ebook

Joining a Prestigious Club ebook

Maria Shagina

122,99 zł


Brussels’s idea of a “wider Europe” implies that Europeanisation is not limited to EU member states. The EU can, so it claims, also exert impact beyond its borders. One of the channels of external EU influence is cooperation between Europarties and parties outside the Union. Through mutual visits and joint activities, non-EU parties become internationally socialised, i.e., are exposed to the Europarties’ norms as well as values, and experience the rules as well as practices that shape European party-building. What are the incentives for Europarties and non-EU parties to cooperate with each other? What kind of, and how much, impact did cooperation have on party development in post-Soviet Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine? Based on eighty interviews with party officials, international donors and academics, Maria Shagina outlines the set of motivations that trigger cooperation between Europarties and non-EU parties, analyses the impact of cooperation on party ideology, organisational structure, and inter-party behaviour in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, and explores the implications of this cooperation on the standardisation, consolidation, and democratisation of the non-EU party systems. Her findings shed light on how prestige and domestic factors impede the penetration of EU norms and values in the non-EU party structures, and point to the failures of Europarties to adequately address problems of party-development in Eastern Europe. The book reveals the ways in which cooperation with Europarties has paradoxically contributed to the ossification of the status quo and impaired the development as well as the consolidation of democracy in the three Eastern Partnership states.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi lub dowolnej aplikacji obsługującej format:


Liczba stron: 364

ibidem Press, Stuttgart


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations



1. Introduction

2. Research Framework

2.1 Theoretical Framework: Socialisation and Norm Diffusion

2.2 Explanatory Model

2.3 Case Selection and Methodology

2.4 Operationalisation

2.5 Data Collection

3. Understanding the Context of Cooperation

3.1 Historical and Institutional Development of the Europarties

3.2 Party Development in Post-Communist Countries

4. Finding Each Other: Process of Application and Identification

4.1 Application and Selection Process

4.2 Identifying a Suitable Europarty

5. Incentive Structures for Cooperation

5.1 Motives for the Europarties

5.2 Motives for the non-EU parties

6. Impact on Ideological Profiles

6.1 Ideological Match: Fitting into the European Party Family

6.2 Analysing the Ideological Match

7. Impact on Organisational Structure

7.1 Organisational Changes in Mother Parties, Youth and Women’s Branches

7.2 Analysing the Organisational Changes

8. Impact on Inter-Party Behaviour

8.1 Inter-Party Relationships between Sister Parties

8.2 Inter-Party Cooperation across the Europarties

8.3 Analysing the Inter-Party Behaviour

9. Conclusions

9.1 Key Empirical Findings

9.2 Comparative Analysis

9.3 Impact on the Party System

9.4 Impact on the Europarties

9.5 Limitations

9.6 Future Research Trajectories



Official Documents

Party Documents



List of Abbreviations


Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists


Alliance for EuropeanIntegration


Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe


Bulgarian European Left


Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko


Christian Democratic Movement of Georgia


Christian-Democratic People’s Party ofMoldova


Central and Eastern Europe


Commonwealth of Independent States


Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement


Democratic Party of Moldova


Eastern Partnership


European Conservative Political Movement


European Democrat Students


European Left


Women of the Party of theEuropean Left


European Network of Democratic Young Left


European Neighborhood Policy


European Parliament


European People’s Party


European Union






International Federation of Liberal Youth


International RepublicanInstitute


People’s Party—Movement for a Democratic Slovakia




Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova


Liberal Democratic Youth of Moldova


European Liberal Youth


National Democratic Institute forInternational Affairs


Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy


Organisation for Security and Cooperationin Europe


Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova


Party of European Socialists


Qualitative Comparative Analysis


United National Movement


Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (People’s Party forFreedomand Democracy


Youth of the European People’s Party




This book studies transnational influences on political parties. The author takes on the momentous task of studying why, how and with what effects political parties in Eastern Europe (Ukraine and Moldova) and the South Caucasus (Georgia) cooperate with Europarties.

As such, the book addresses three under-researched dimensions. First, it examines political parties in the post-Soviet countries in order to then understand the Europeanisation of political parties in the Eastern neighbourhood. At present there is hardly any literature on cooperation between national parties and Europarties. Second, the study is particularly important because there is relatively little written on political parties in the post-Soviet countries. Third, there is hardly any comparative literature on political parties across the post-Soviet space because most academic literature deals with single countries. The author therefore faced the formidable challenge of simultaneously researching parties themselves in order to gain an insight into the extent to which their cooperation with the Europarties impacted on them and how the impact differed across the countries, thereby developing comparative insights. In doing so, the book delivers on its promise to provide “cross-national, cross-partisan and cross-dimensional perspectives”. This is a new research pathway in European Studies as it analyses “Europeanisation beyond enlargement” with a new set of EU and domestic actors.

Rather than a “blanket” change, the study can observe gradual forms of change in the process of selective and strategic engagement of domestic actors with external actors leads to a non-systemic impact. These complex modalities of change pose a considerable challenge for gauging the actual extent of, and mechanisms accounting for, “Europeanisation beyond enlargement”. Cooperation with Europarties seems to enhance domestic processes but cannot compensate for the weakness of the domestic parties and volatility of the party system as such.

This book encompasses a great deal of research and delivers a set of strong and well-documented findings. To her credit, Maria Shagina does not shy away from a full recognition of the complexity of the findings and embraces it with a scholarly scrutiny. This is an ambitious, extensive and original study, which—despite or rather its sobering findings—pushes the frontiers of the debates on Europeanisation.


Kataryna Wolczuk

University of Birmingham, May 2017




I would like to express my deep gratitude to mysupervisors Prof. Dr. Sandra Lavenex and Prof. Kataryna Wolczuk for their continuous support, patient guidance, and useful critiques. Without their enthusiastic encouragement and constructive comments, this research work would not be the same.

My sincere thanks also goes to Prof. Dr. Frank Schimmelfennig, Prof. Lars Svåsand, Prof. Dr. Daniel Bochsler, Dr. Thomas Winzen, Dr. Tim Haughton, andProf. Dr. Dirk Lehmkuhl for their insightful and fruitful feedback at different stages of my research work, but also for their critical questions which motivated me to look at my thesis from different perspectives and to further enhance it.

I also would like to extend my thanks to the research committee of the University of Lucerne for believing in my research and for granting me a Doc.Mobility scholarship for my research stayat the Universityof Birmingham. Equally, Iwould liketo thank theGraduateSchool of Lucerne and NCCR Democracy for the financial support. Without their generous support it would not be possible to conduct my field research.

Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the CREES team for their warm welcome and engaging discussions. This research also would not have been possible without the assistance and support of many people in Belgium, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine those who helped me with arranging interviews and those who found time to share their thoughts during the interviews. My special thanks go to my family and friends for their endless support and patience through the process of researching and writing this thesis. In particular, I am thankful to Julia, Myriam, Nino, Valeriya, and to my mother Valentina and my husband David for their continuous encouragement and help.


Maria Shagina

Lucerne, May 2017


1. Introduction

In 2003, a new framework for relations with Eastern and Southern European Union’s (EU) neighbours was developed by the European Commission. Reflected in Prodi’s speech “A Wider Europe—A Proximity Policy as the key to stability”, the initiative aimed to develop a zone of prosperity and a friendly neighbourhood, offering “everything but institutions”.1 Promising no EU membership perspective, in return, the EU has offered an attractive and effective framework for closer co-operation with its neighbouring countries. In its attempt to become “a real global player”2, the EU provided new opportunities for stable and sustainable political and economic environment. The “wider Europe” initiative emphasized the importance of mutual interests existing between the EU and its neighbours and the need for sharing common values. Aimed at the promotion of the EU values beyond the Union’s borders, the new framework claimed that the scope of EU impact is not necessarily limited to the EU member states and can also take place beyond the EU borders.

Being a gravity model of democracy promotion, the EU and its institutions provide a credible blueprint for transformations for its neighbouring countries. One of the avenues through which the EU norms and values are channelled is the Europarties. Being umbrella organisations at the EU level, the Europarties provide a template for the European party-building for immature post-communist parties. Based on the evidence from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries, the Europarties had a substantialimpactonCEE partiesbyprovidingideologicalandmaterialsupport.3 Whereas the Europarties had rather a limited impact on party systems in established democracies4, their involvement in new democracies proved to be more pronounced.5 Cultural and historical rapprochement to Europe (i.e. “return to Europe” narrative) facilitated the penetration of the EU impact into the domestic arena, by demonstrating dynamics and responsiveness. For example, the Slovakian case showed that transnational links contributed to democratic consolidation and party system stabilisation. In the process of interaction with the Europarties, the Slovak parties experienced programmatic influence and reinforced their party identities, which led to the gradual standardisation of the political spectrum. Staying under a European observation, the Slovak democratic forces benefited from external solidarity and democracy-building, competing against the Mečiar government. Furthermore, the Slovak elites used transnational links as a platform for networking and unofficial lobbying in favour of EU accession.6

Whereas in CEE countries the cooperation with the Europarties took place under the mechanism of conditionality—the EU membership perspective, the interaction between the Europarties and East European parties from non-candidate countries is deprived of this leverage. However, despite the lack of EU membership perspective, these countries have high aspirations for European integration, while the non-EU parties are willing to initiate cooperation and actively participate in the Europarties’ joint activities. In fact, the affi-liation with the Europarties is often seen by Georgian, Moldovan, and Ukrai-nian parties as an opportunity to be accepted among European partyelites and, therefore, is perceivedas joining a prestigious club.7

This factor of prestigemakes parties more exposed to the Europarties’ influences, what could potentially lead to a more discernible impact on their party development. As a result of their interaction, which occurs through institutionalised programs of mutual visits, joint seminars, training, and political consulting, the non-EU party elites become exposed to the Europarties’ norms and values, gradually absorbing the EU rules and practices. During this process of socialisation, the Europarties have the potential to “teach” the non-EU party elites the EU rules and norms, whereas the non-EU parties have an opportunity to adjust their party manifestos, approximate their organisational structure, and alter their political behavior in line with European party-building.

DrivenbyshiftingthefocusfromCEEcountriestonon-EUcountries,this research tackles the phenomenon of cooperation in which immediate tangible rewards are absent. It is the absence of rewards for both parties that makes their cooperation so perplexing. On the one hand, the Europarties do not obtain any additional votes in the European Parliament (EP), by incorporating newcomers from the non-EU member states. On the other hand, the non-EU parties are deprived of votes and initiativerights and have no influence within the Europarties’ decision-making bodies, which makes their cooperationlimited.Nevertheless, the non-EUpartieswillinglyinitiatethecooperationandparticipate in the Europarties’ activities, whereas the Europarties compete in their network expansion and are eager to have sister parties outside of Europe.

Research questions

The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of cooperation on party development in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine through an affiliation with the Europarties. Applying the socialisation approach, there are two main research questions to be answered: what are the incentives for the Europarties and the non-EU parties to cooperate with each other? and what impact does cooperation with the Europarties have on party development in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine?

Looking at cooperation with the Europarties, the first research question aims to envisage the rationale that drives this cooperation. Applying both the “logic of consequences” and the “logic of appropriateness”, the research examines the incentive structures of both the Europarties and the non-EU parties.

The second research question aims to shed some light on the causal mechanism of this puzzlingcooperationandexplainthe“blackbox”oftheEuroparties’impactonpartydevelopment. It aims to examine whether there is an impact and, if yes, to what extent cooperation with the Europarties impacts non-EU party development. The research is interested in identifying “the cogs and wheels” of cooperation that trigger the process of socialisation and transformational changes. The Europarties’ impact is analysed in terms of ideological, organisational, and behavioural changes. Dealing with EU outsiders, the research is driven by looking at different faces of Europeanisation, not necessarily positive ones.

The main implications of this contribution are to analyse whether this cooperation leads to transformations in party-building and whether these reforms lead to transformations on the party system level. The decrease in ideological polarisation, increase in organisational capacity, and stability of inter-party relationships might spill over into the party system level and lead to its stabilisation, consolidation, anddemocratisation. In this way, the research aims to contribute to the nascent studies of Europeanisation beyond Europe and to conduct systematic cross-country, cross-partisan, and cross-dimensional comparisons of the Europarties’ influence on domestic parties outside of the EU.

Europeanisation of party politics: locating the research

In a broader context, this research is deeply embedded in the realm of democracy promotion and particularly into the field of international party assistance.8 The point of departure of this research is, however, the Europeanisation of party politics. In his seminal work, Ladrech conceptualised a theoretical framework for the analysis of the Europeanisation of political parties.9 The Europeanisation was defined through five dimensions, namely party programmes, organisational structure, patterns of party competition, party–government relations, and relations beyond the national party system. Following his analytical framework, various studies have examined some of those dimensions.10

Overall,theEU’sdirectimpactontheformatandmechanicsofWesternpartysystemswas rather limited, as there was no effect on domestic party competition. The explanation for this insignificant impact is rooted in the underdeveloped character of the European party system. The European-level elections still remain second-order elections, with blurred and weak party competition that prevents the spill-over effect into the national arena.11 Moreover, national party systems operate as gatekeepers and define electoral agendas. Finally, the national and European politicalarenasarestrictlydividedalongpolicyissues.Whilenationalpoliticsseems to be the arena for contestation over European issues, European politics is becoming a playground for day-to-day decision-making.12

Focusing on CEE and Balkan countries, a series of studies were conducted, analysingthe Europeanisation of party politics, including the influence of the Europarties on their member parties. The findings vary, depending on the assessment of the degree of Europeanisation. While some studies find a substantial impact on domestic party politics, other literature claims EU influences had no impact. The first strand of literature establishes that domestic party politics underwent significant changes under the EU impact. Thus, in his pivotal study, Pridham finds the evidence of the impact on CEE party systems after cooperation with transnational party federations. Aspiring to join the EU, unsettled CEE party systems were exposed to systemic pressure and underwent transformations on different levels such as “identity and ideology, programme, organisation, electoral politics and personnel”.13 Cooperation with transnational actors had several observable results. Firstly, cooperating with “standard” parties only, a line of demarcation was drawn by the Europarties to exclude extremistandnationalistparties.Asaresult,itledtostandardisationoftheCEEpoliticalspectrum. Secondly,lackingexperienceandself-confidence, theEuropeanlinkshelpedCEEpartiesbuildup political and electoral experience by boosting the party elites’ confidence. Finally, cooperation was employed by non-EU parties as an unofficial channel for networking to speed up the EU accession process.14

In the same vein, Delsoldato argued that transnational party cooperation influenced EU candidate countries’ parties. The Europarties impacted post-communist parties by transferring their own models of organisation, action, and thinking.15 Moreover, the Europarties operated as interlocutors between domestic and European levels to build personal trust. However, due to the lackof knowledge about post-communist parties, the process of affiliation quickly started to turn into a superficial affiliation rather than a closeideological match in which the larger parties were easily recognised.16 Dakowska’s research corroborated the abovementioned observations. It found out that, driven by rational calculations, CEE parties opted for the larger and more powerful Europarties in order to achieve international recognition, domestic legitimacy, and social proof. On the other hand, facing the realities of a post-communist landscape,theEuropartiesloweredtheir expectations for close ideological matches and favoured the admission of stronger parties in order to improve their bargaining power once the enlargement was finalised.17 The German party foundations played a crucial role in the intermediation, socialisation, and persuasion of post-communist parties. Operating as “norm entrepreneurs”, they proved to be the channels for transmitting norms, values, and political contacts to CEE countries. Nevertheless, although some CEE parties adopted general discourses of European values, norm transfer via the Europarties proved to be rather intricate.18

Similarly, Lewis detected particular transformations in government coalitions, party-system structure, and party organisations. In line with Pridham, he observed a tendency towards the marginalisation of radical parties and its subsequent moderation in CEE countries, resulting in the changes in coalition formats. The mainstream parties tended to exclude extremist parties from the coalition-building process. In particular, the Slovak case was the most illustrative, when theParty of European Socialists (PES) used its leverage to affect the coalition format by excluding extremist and EU-noncompatible “Movement for a Democratic Slovakia” (HZDS) from their family. The HZDS underwent significant changes to be considered compatible for the PES again. Althoughit is difficulttoidentifyanyprofound impact on theconsolidationofCEEpartysystems, as a result of the EU’s adaptive pressure, domestic parties became limited in their exploitation of populism. Secondly, the EU’s impact on party ideology and party organisation found its evidence in terms of the introduction of gender quotas, adoption of the European party symbols and alternation of party names.19

Likewise, Spirova found evidence of the Europarties’ impact on domestic electoral strategies in Bulgaria through the Europarties’ encouragement of forging alliances and mergers. For example, the PES actively supported the creation of a new, leftist force—the Bulgarian European Left (BEL). However, observing how the BEL was gradually losing their popularity, the PES opted for the consolidation of Bulgarian social-democratic forces. The main driving force behind the engagement of the PES was electoral support rather than ideology. Due to the strong personalisation of Bulgarian party politics, the consolidation of left forces failed. In a similar case, the European People’s Party (EPP) made an attempt to encourage the unification of the Bulgarian right, but also failed to achieve any success. In fact, the Europarties’ encouragement for consolidation sometimes led to friction within the party, proving the Europarties’ impact to be rather counterproductive.20

In contrast, some studies in CEE countries found that Europeanisation had little to no impact on party systems. Thus, Szczerbiak and Bil established very little evidence of EU impact on the Polish party system due to the domestic factors.21 In a similar vein, Haughton et al. detected limited impact on party organisations and programmes in CEE countries after the accession. In fact, CEE parties used the links with the European level as a “badge of approval” to enhance their significance and standing for the domestic electorate.22 Examining the role of the PES in shaping social democracyin CEE countries, Holmes and Lightfoot established “verylittle evidence of any impact”.23 The evidence of genuine ideological and behavioural change was absent, whereas the level of internalisation was shallow without any degree of reflection. CEEparties used the PES affiliation as an external validation of their distinction from unreformed post-communist parties and therefore indulged in role-playing.24

In the non-EU member states, cooperation with the Europarties has drawn very little attention and up until now was investigated based on a single case study. The first scholarly study of the Europarties’ influence on non-EU parties was conducted by Timus.25 Focusing on Ukraine, Timus investigated the affiliation of Ukrainian parties with the EPP. Themainfocus was ontheadmissionprocessandtheideologicalmatch between the Europarty and its Ukrainian sister parties. The main findings revealed strategic incentives for cooperation, emanating from both the Europarty and domestic parties. While in domestic arena, parties used engagement with the Europarties for domestic legitimacyandinternationalrecognition, fortheEuropartiesthe cooperation represented an opportunity to strengthen their positions in the neighbourhood.26

Only recently has there been an attempt to elaborate a comparative framework to investigate the activityof the Europarties regarding party-building in CEE democracies.27When examining transnational party activity, it is important to integrate such aspects as the complementary activity of the internationals and party foundations, bilateral links between the EU parties and individual parties within the Europarties, the ongoing process of democratisation and consolidation of party systems, the European integration process, and the EU’s own democratic conditionality.28

Significance of the research

The review of previous studies points out existing research gaps within the Europeanisation studies. Whereas the abovementioned contributions are limited to a single case study, this research, in contrast, is driven by a comparative approach. It pursues the conduction of asystematicanalysisoftheEuroparties’impactbeyondtheEUfromcross-national,cross-partisan, and cross-dimensional perspectives. Aiming to increase the generalisability of the findings, the research includes Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in the analysis to establish any cross-regional patterns and similarities. Secondly, to increase the scope of analysis, the research encompasses all mainstream Europarties and relevant domestic parties. By including both strong andweakEuropartiesanddomesticparties,theresearch aimsatpartyvariationinpoliticalweight. On the one hand, this allows an examination of whether there is a difference between stronger and weaker Europarties in establishing cooperation and in their potential to influence non-EU parties. On the other hand, incorporating strong and weak domestic parties allows the analysis of whether there are some commonalities in their incentive structures and whether there is a difference in susceptibility to the Europarties’ impact. Finally, the examination of the Europarties’ impacton three dimensions is inclusive and encompasses party development from its main standpoints: identity and party ideology, organisational structure, and inter-party relationships. This kind of research design allows comparisons of the significance of ideological, organisational, and behavioural changes both within and across parties, and across countries.

Giventheextensivefieldworkdata,the main contribution oftheresearchis first-hand insights into the motives driving cooperation and into the precise mechanism of the admission of non-EU parties. Having international party assistance as a control variable, the research aims to single out the Europarties’ net impact on non-EU party development. Rooted in domestic politics, the cases reveal publicly inaccessible storylines behind each party’s cooperation and the factors that informally influence it. Extending beyond the party level, the research pursues the analysis of whether the Europarties’ influence contributes to the standardisation, consolidation,anddemocratisationofpartysystemsinEasternEurope.Lastbutnotleast, considering constant party system instability in East Europe, theresearch indirectly uncoversthe effectiveness andsustainabilityofthe Europarties’engagement and points out the potential shortcomings and limitations of the Europarties’activities in the region.

Itinerary of the book

Chapter 2 describes the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of the research. In particular, it starts with the concepts of socialisation and norm diffusion and continues with the introduction of the explanatory model of the Europarties’ impact on party development and its scope conditions that may trigger socialisation. The second half of the chapter engages with the methodology, operationalisation and data gathering.

Chapter 3 explains the historical context and institutional development of both the Europarties and the non-EU parties. The first part of the chapter introduces the historical and institutional development of the Europarties, their functions and organisational structure. The second part focuses on the particularities of party development in post-communist countries. It starts with a discussion of different cleavage structures, public distrust, and high electoral volatility and continues with the excessive personalisation of party politics, and the lack of internal party democracy.

Chapter 4 highlights the selection and application process for the non-EU parties. Based on the EPP example, the chapter sheds some light on the formal steps of application and, more importantly, identifies the informal factors which influence the chances of being accepted into the Europarty. This chapter will help to understand how the Europarties find their potential partners and which criteria they use to identify a proper match.

Chapter 5 examines the motivational structures of both the Europarties and the non-EU parties which trigger cooperation between them. This chapter constitutes a crucial part of the analysis, as it touches upon the core of the puzzling phenomenon of cooperation: why do the Europarties and the non-EU parties cooperate with each other if tangible rewards are absent? It identifies a set of motives for both Europarties and non-EU parties and illustrates it in practice by analysing each case of cooperation in greater detail.

Chapter 6 assesses the ideological match between the Europarties’ and the non-EU parties’ profiles. Firstly, the chapter identifies the Europarties’ fundamental ideological principles. Secondly, using this “ideological checklist”, the ideological congruence between the Europarties and their sister parties is measured on economic, social, and European dimensions. It aims to evaluate to what extent the affiliated non-EU parties fit into their chosen European party families.

Chapter 7 focuses on the organisational approximation between the Europarties and the non-EU parties. It estimates the degree of organisational changes the non-EU mother parties and its youth and women’s branches introduced after cooperation the Europarties. The evaluation of the impact is examined in terms of changes in internal decision-making, transfer of know-how, promotion of youth to the mother party, introduction of gender quotas on the electoral lists, and female political empowerment.

Chapter 8 examines the behavioural changes of the non-EU parties after cooperation, particularly analysing the cases of cooperation between domestic sister parties. It aims to assess to what extent the Europarties’ endorsement of cooperation influenced the non-EU parties’ behaviour and led to coalition-building, government formation, or party mergers.

Chapter 9 summarises the key findings revealed from the analysis of cooperation. Moreover, it draws a systematic comparative analysis from cross- and within-dimensional, cross-partisan, and cross-national perspectives. It analyses which dimension—ideological, organisational or behavioural—proved to be the most susceptible to the Europarties’ norms and values, which parties—strong or weak—proved to be the most successful in implementing changes and which country—Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine—proved to be the most influenced by the cooperation with the Europarties. Subsequently, it discusses the implications on the party system level and reflects on the implications for the Europarties.



1 Romano Prodi, “A Wider Europe—A Proximity Policy as the key to stability,” “Peace, Security and Stability—International Dialogue and the Role of the EU,” Sixth ECSA-World Conference. Jean Monnet Project, Brussels, 5–6 December 2002.

2 Ibid.

3 Geoffrey Pridham, “Patterns of Europeanization and Transnational Party Cooperation: Party Development in Central and Eastern Europe.” Paper for Workshop on European Aspects of Post-Communist Party Development, ECPR Sessions, Mannheim, University of Mannheim (1999); Geoffrey Pridham, “The European Union's Democratic Conditionality and Domestic Politics in Slovakia: The Meciar and Dzurinda Governments Compared,” Europe-Asia Studies 54:2 (2002); Giorgia Delsoldato, “Eastward Enlargement by the European Union and Transnational Parties,” International Political Science Review 23:3 (2002); Paul Lewis, “Changes in the Party Politics of the New EU Member States in Central Europe: Patterns of Europeanization and Democratization,” Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Online 10:2 (2008).

4 See, for example, Peter Mair, “The Limited Impact of Europe on National Party Systems,” West European Politics 23:4 (2000): 27–28.

5 Pridham, “Patterns of Europeanization”; Pridham, “The European Union's Democratic Conditionality,”; Delsoldato, “Eastward Enlargement”; Paul Lewis, “Changes in the Party Politics”; Maria Spirova, “Europarties and Party Development in EU-Candidate States: The Case of Bulgaria,” Europe-Asia Studies 60:5 (2008).

6 Pridham, “Patterns of Europeanization.”

7 Dorota Dakowska, “Beyond Conditionality: EU Enlargement, European Party Federations and the Transnational Activity of German Political Foundations,” Perspectives on European Politics and Society 3:2 (2002).

8 See, for example, Peter Burnell, “Democracy Assistance: Origins and Organizations,” in Democracy Assistance: International Cooperation for Democratization, ed. P. Burnell (London: Frank Cass, 2000), 34–66; Peter Burnell, “Promoting Democracy Backwards,” FRIDE Working Paper 28, 2006; Thomas Carothers, Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1996); Thomas Carothers, Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2006); Thomas Carothers, “Examining Political Party Aid,” in Globalising Democracy, ed. P. Burnell (London: Routledge Publishers, 2006); Thomas Carothers, “Democracy Support and Development Aid: The Elusive Synthesis,” Journal of Democracy 21:4 (2010).

9 Robert Ladrech, “Europeanization and Political Parties: Towards a Framework of Analysis,” Party Politics 8:4 (2002).

10 See, for example, Thomas Poguntke et al., “Europeanisation of National Party Organisations: A Conceptual Analysis,” European Journal of Political Research 46:6 (2007): 20; Paul Pennings, “An Empirical Analysis of the Europeanization of National Party Manifestos, 1960–2003,” European Union Politics 7:2 (2008); Alex Szczerbiak and Paul Taggart (Eds.), Opposing Europe? The Comparative Party Politics of Euroscepticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

11 Mair, “The Limited Impact,” 27–28.

12 Ibid., 45–46.

13 Pridham, “Patterns of Europeanization and Transnational Party Cooperation,” 7.

14 Pridham, “Patterns of Europeanization and Transnational Party Cooper-ation,” 14.

15 Delsoldato, “Eastward Enlargement,” 277.

16 Ibid., 281.

17 Dakowska, “Beyond Conditionality,” 284.

18 Ibid., 288, 290.

19 Lewis, “Changes in the Party Politics,” 158–159.

20 Spirova, “Europarties and Party,” 802.

21 Alex Szczerbiak and Monika Bil, “When in Doubt, (re-) Turn to Domestic Politics? The (non-) Impact of the EU on Party Politics in Poland,” SEI Working Paper No 103, EPERN Working Paper No 20 (2008): 8.

22 Tim Haughton, “Driver, Conductor or Fellow Passenger? EU Membership and Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe,” Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 25:4 (2009): 421–423.

23 Michael Holmes and Simon Lightfoot, “Limited Influence? The Role of the Party of European Socialists in Shaping Social Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,” Government and Opposition 46:1 (2011): 54.

24 Holmes and Lightfoot, “Limited Influence,” 42, 46.

25 Natalia Timus, “Coming Closer to Europe: Transnational Cooperation between EPFs and Post-Soviet Parties,” GARNET Working Paper No 72/09, November 2009; Natalia Timus, “Transnational Party Europeanization: EPP and Ukrainian Parties,” Acta Politica 49:1 (2014).

26 Timus, “Coming Closer”.

27 See, for example, Benjamin von dem Berge and Thomas Poguntke, “The Influence of Europarties on Central and Eastern European Partner Parties: A Theoretical and Analytical Model,” European Political Science Review 5:2 (2013).

28 Geoffrey Pridham, “Comparative Perspectives on Transnational Party-Building in New Democracies: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe,” Acta Politica 49:1 (2014): 32–37.

2. Research Framework

Inspired by the appeal of “going empirical”, this research aims to depart from a traditional “rationalist-constructivist” divide and to move further, by offering a fine-grained explanation of the puzzling phenomena of cooperation between Europarties and non-EU parties. Bridging both approaches, this research is interested in revealing why actors are willing to undergo the costly processofadaptationandhowactorsinternalisenewnorms.It is interested in portraying the “cogs and wheels” of the causal mechanism of socialisation and in defining the scope conditions stipulating the internalisation.

Combining both rationalist and constructivist logics to party politics, this research focuses on the driving forces behind domestic change as the result of cooperation between Europarties and non-EU parties. Why do political parties decide to comply with norms and implement changes? Is domestic change driven byparties’ noble beliefs or by their pragmatic power tactics? How does norm diffusion occur, and underwhatconditionsdoesitpenetratethedomesticlevel? Thesequestionscanbeaddressedfrom both rational and normative perspectives, emphasising a “logic of consequences” and a “logic of appropriateness” in the process of Europeanisation.

2.1 Theoretical Framework: Socialisation and NormDiffusion

Accordingto Checkel, socialisation is “the process of inductingnew actors into the norms, rules, and wayof behaviour of a given community”.1As members of a certain community, actors share an identity, beliefs, values, and norms, which spread through the socialisation mechanism and thus impose certain expectations on actors’ behavioural patterns. This definition implies an uneven “master-novice” relationship, where newcomers become integrated into an established group and change their behaviour in line with the group’s rules through social interaction.2 As Johnston put it succinctly, “socialization is aimed at creating membership of a society where the intersubjective understandings of the society become taken for granted”.3 As a result, socialisation enables conformity to norms and its internalisation.

Socialisation facilitates norm diffusion. For new norms to be fully institutionalisedandinternalised,thewhole“lifecycle”musttakeplace,whichincludesthree stages: “norm emergence”, “norm cascade” and internalisation.4The first stage occurs when anestablishedsetofnormsfacesadestabilisingshockthatunderminesthelegitimacyofthenorms. Confronted with a new si-tuation, the old set of norms fails to offer a satisfying solution to new challenges and problems. This leads to an “ideational vacuum”, in which actors are no longer satisfied with the status quo and start looking for a new set of norms that will solve the uncomfortable situation.5

The second stage begins once the set of norms is selected. At the “norm cascade” stage, the norm entrepreneurs try to convince the actors to comply with their rules and practicesthrough arguing or persuasion. In fact, this stage is characterised by an active phase of socialisation when thenormleadersaretryingtoinductactorsintotheirsystemofvalues.The“normcascade” occurs under certain circumstances that trigger the norm adoption by actors. The conditions vary depending on the situation but encompass features of institutional design, properties of the actors to be socialised, and properties of the socialising actors.6

Finally,atthelaststage,actorsinternalisenewnormsandperformthemonahabitualbasis. Newnormsaretakenforgrantedandarenolonger subjectedto apublicdebate.Asaresult,norms are viewed as right, appropriate, and intersubjective.

The intricate process of socialisation requires the analysis of the microfoundations which, in turn, predetermines the sustainability of internalisation. The shift from a “logic of consequences” to a “logic of appropriateness” might be triggerred by two microprocesses—persuasion or social influence.7

Persuasion is an idealistic form of internalisation when newcomers ge-nuinelychange their beliefs and attitudes, resulting in “deep” socialisation and sustainable change of behaviour. This type of microprocess leads to a genuine attitude change through high intensity cognition, reflection, or argument.8

In contrast to persuasion, social influence triggers “pro-norm behaviour through the distribution of social rewards and punishments”.9 The social-influence method employs a variety of rewards, including psychological well-being, increased status, and a sense of belonging, achieved through confor-mity with role expectations. Punishments, on the other hand, might include shaming, exclusion, demeaning, or cognitive dissonance derived from inconsistent behaviour vis-à-vis the new role and identity.10

Described as “public conformity without private acceptance”, social influence underlines an unfinished process of internalisation,inwhichtheactordoesnotinternalisenewrulesandnorms,butalters its behaviour due to group pressure.11 Of crucial importance in the microprocess of social influence are the maximisation of status, honour, and prestige, and the desire to avoid losing reputation and public image through humiliation and shaming. The desire to maximise reputational attributes converts the status into an instrument. The membership in a high-status group unleashes leverage over the actor’s attitude. Pursuing self-esteem, actors comply with norms, as they want others to think well of them and they want to think well of themselves.12

Depending on the microprocesses underlying the socialisation, internalisation might result in strategic calculation, role adoption, or normativesuasion. Having its roots in rationalist theory, strategic calculation takes place when the promised rewards are expected to be greater than the cost of compliance.13 In contrast to pure instrumental rationality, “strategic social construction”arguesthatdespitetheactors’desiretomaximisetheirutility,theymightmovefrom behavioural adaptation to a sustained compliance, reflecting the normative commitments of the norm-promoting agency. Embedded in organisational theory and cognitive psychology, role-playing occurs when actors change their beliefs and actions to appear to comply with the norm-promoting agency’s requirements. The shift from a “logic of consequences” towards a“logic of appropriateness” commences in role-playing, but lacks anyreflective internalisation.14Finally, normative suasion indicates complete internalisation. It takes place when actors “actively and reflectively internalise new understandings of appropriateness”.15 The normative suasion excludes a rational cost-benefit calculus. Through arguing and persuasion, a new set of rules is taken for granted and is no longer a matter of public discussion.16

2.2 Explanatory Model

Operating as sites of socialisation, the Europarties can be considered “epistemic communities” that provide expertise knowledge in a voluntary manner.17 Being in a “group with a common style of thinking”, domesticactorsaresocialisedin linewith Europeanbeliefs,values,andpractices,andontheother hand, are exposed to peer pressure to complywith their normative commitments.18 Through mutual events and activities, inter-elite socialisation triggers the mechanism of “norm cascade” and facilitates the penetration into the domesticarena (Figure 2.1).

Figure 2.1 The mechanism of the Europarties’ impact on the non-EU parties

Thesocialisationofthenon-EUpartiesisfacilitatedthroughcertainenvironmentalfeatures ofEuropeananddomesticlevels.The precondition for cooperation between the Europarties and the non-EU parties lies in the ideational vacuum caused by an exogenous shock. Beingrecentlyestablished,post-communistpartiesareimmature and undeveloped in party-building. Having only experienced the rule of the single communist party, the European party-building is a novel and uncertain domain for them. With no long historical records, post-communist parties are still undergoing the process of identification and possess few ingrained beliefs and values. Moreover, due to the historical absence of a pluralist system, the beliefs and practices of post-communist parties vary significantly from those of the European ones. Looking for the European experience and its knowledge, the non-EU parties turn to the Europarties, which they perceive as being authoritative and prestigious. After the cooperation is established, the Europarties organise mutual workshops and trainings, through which the non-EU parties become engaged in a social learning process in a deliberative manner. Operating outside the mainstream of European politics, the Europarties deliver their knowledge and expertise in less politicised and insulatedsettings.

Scope conditions

What factors are conducive to successful socialisation, which in turn leads to further transformations on ideological, organisational, and behavioural dimensions? This study argues that socialisation via cooperation with Europarties is triggered by scope conditions such as the length and intensity of contact, party position, and motivations.

As socialisation does not happen overnight, the time factor is important to consider in evaluating the Europarties’ impact. As a long-lasting process, both the duration and intensityof the contact are necessary conditions for socialisation.19 The party position—strong or weak—influences the bargaining process vis-à-vis the Europarties and their willingness to embark on transformations. The parties with a strong position are likely to have betterstakesthan the parties with a weak positionintheapplicationprocess.Asdesirablepartners,strongparties thushavebetterleverageagainsttheEuroparty’sdecisionintheadmissionprocedures. Finally, the set of motivations for establishing cooperation is crucial. Driven by ideational motives, parties seek to oblige to the rules and practices of the Europarties as they find this behaviour appropriate.


The effect of the abovementioned scope conditions has different effects on ideological, organisational, and behavioural dimensions.

Ideological dimension

On the ideological dimension, the time factor is expected to have a positive effect on the ideological congruence over the course of the affiliation. The changes are expected to be driven not merely by lengthy contact, but rather by the quality of the contact.20 Frequent and intense contacts with the Europarties contribute to full embeddedness of the domestic parties into the Europarty’s norms and practices:

H1: The longer and the more intensely an observer party cooperates with the Europarty, the closer the ideological match is expected.

With regard to the party position, strong parties—which are usually government and/or catch-all parties—are expected to be less congruent with the Europarty, as their ideological profile aims to encompass broader social groups. In turn, weak parties—which are usually opposition and/or minor parties—are expectedtohaveacloserfitwiththeEuroparty,astheirideologicalprofilesaremoreconsolidated:

H2:Weakpoliticalparties are expected to have a better ideological matchvis-à-vistheEuroparty than strong political parties.

Finally, the motivation factor behind the affiliation is expected to have an impact on the congruence.Dependingontheincentivestructure,theideologicalmatchislikelytobecloserwhen the non-EU parties join the Europarties due to their convictions and beliefs. In contrast, the predominanceofrational considerationsisexpectedtoleadtolowercongruencebetweentheparty profiles:

H3: Parties with ideational motives are likely to have a better ideological match with the Europarties than parties with strategic motives.

Organisational Dimension

Looking at the various factors that might impact the organisational compatibility, thetime factor is expected to positively influence the non-EU party structures:

H4: The longer and more intense the cooperation between the Europarty and an observer party, the more structural adjustments are expected to be implemented.

Depending on the party’s position, strong parties are expected to be structurally more compatible with the Europarties. Because they have more resources, strong parties have more opportunitiestobetterdeveloptheirpartystructuresandtoimplementstructuralchangesfollowing the Europarties’ template, respectively:21

H5: Strong parties are likely to implement more structural adjustments than weak parties.

In a similar vein to the ideological dimension, ideational motives for cooperation are expected to have a positive impact on organisational compatibility. Genuine motivations for cooperation are likely to trigger more borrowing of practices in the European party-building:

H6: Parties with ideational motives are likely to implement more structural changes than parties with strategic motives.

Behavioural Dimension

Onthebehaviouraldimension,thetimefactorislikelytohaveapositiveimpactonparties’ readiness to cooperate with each other. The long-standing sister parties are expected to cooperate with each other more willingly, in comparison to those parties that only recently joined theEuroparties:

H7: The longer sister parties have been affiliated and the more intense their cooperation with the Europarties, the closer the relationships between sister parties.

In the affiliation process, different party types have different forms of leverage vis-à-vis the Europarties, which might potentially influence the Europarties’ decision to accept another sister party and consequentially affect sister parties’ willingness to cooperate. Two effects on the inter-partyrelationships are expected, depending on the party’s position as strongor weak. Strong parties usually have more leverage on the Europarties’ decision in the application process and might influence the Europarties’ admission of another sister party. As viable and credible political forces, strong parties obviously enjoy stronger interest from the Europarties,which puts them in abetternegotiatingpositionvis-à-vis theEuroparties:22

H8:Strong partiesare likely to block the admission of another sister party if they disapprove of it.

Ontheotherhand,cooperationtendstooccurbetweenstrongand weaksisterpartiesrather than between two strong parties. In cooperation between strong and weak parties, both parties profitbysupportingeachother.Byforgingcooperationwithweakparties,strongpartiescanprofit from stayingin power, whereas weak parties can win from international recognition domestically. In contrast, cooperation between strongparties is likelyto lead to rivalry, as both parties target the same electoral field and compete for unique relationships with theEuroparty:

H9: Cooperation is likely to happen between strong and weak parties rather than between two strong parties.