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Weak States, Weak Societies: Comparing New and Old Member States of the European Union

Sissenich, Beate (2009) Weak States, Weak Societies: Comparing New and Old Member States of the European Union. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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    The transfer of rules, such as in the European Union's recent enlargements, requires well-functioning institutions of government as well as societal actors ready to engage with the new rules. Officials of the European Commission and other practitioners highlighted the need for both in the run-up to enlargement, while critics of the 2004 and 2007 rounds have faulted the state-centric approach employed by the EU for undercutting societal actors in the new member states. This paper examines data from the World Values Survey and World Bank Governance Indicators and shows that state capacity and organized interests do indeed go hand in hand: Among the 27 EU member states, countries that score high on good governance also have citizens engaged in interest organizations, volunteering for a broad variety of causes, and ready to participate in acts of protest. By the same token, in countries where governments struggle to deliver results, organized interests are insufficiently established and rarely in a position to perform governance functions. The data show systematic and statistically significant differences between old and new member states, with Eastern Europe lagging behind most of the older democracies on both dimensions, i.e. state capacity and civil society. Considerable variation within each block does not negate this basic gap. Rather than rely on nonstate actors to compensate for weak institutions of government, European policy makers need to invest in long-term efforts to strengthen state institutions and bring stakeholders into the processes of policy-making and implementation

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2009 (11th), April 23-25, 2009
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2013 17:31
    Number of Pages: 29
    Last Modified: 08 Jan 2013 17:31

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