The challenge of Populist Radical Right Parties to Europeanization – the cases of Estonia and Latvia, 2018-2021

Aleksandra Kuczyńska-Zonik

ORCID: Aleksandra Kuczyńska-Zonik: 0000-0002-5672-9613

Peteris F. Timofejevs

ORCID: Peteris F. Timofejevs: 0000-0002-0434-6776

Afiliacja: Umeå University, Sweden

Pages: 143-175

Edition: Lublin 2021


Citation method: P.F. Timofejevs, A. Kuczyńska-Zonik, The challenge of Populist Radical Right Parties to Europeanization – the cases of Estonia and Latvia, 2018-2021, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 19(2021), z. 3, s. 143-175, doi:

Keywords: , , , ,

Abstract: Over the last two decades, family law has undergone changes in Western Europe, widening the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. In addition, some East European countries offer a legal recognition of civil unions of same-sex couples, while others do not offer any legal recognition at all. This diversity in family law has been recently challenged by developments at the European level. It is argued here that this constitutes an adaptational pressure on those European Union (EU) member states that do not offer any or offer only formal recognition of same-sex couples. We examine two cases when member states faced such an adaptational pressure, namely Estonia and Latvia, focusing on the interplay of two types of factors. First is that of formal institutions which, due to their constitutional role or their expertise in the EU law, may act as facilitators of legal changes. On the other hand, there are also political actors which have tried to constrain such an adaptation. We examine here especially the role of two political parties which have made a considerable effort to oppose the change in the two countries. It is argued here that the ideological orientation of these parties explains, at least partly, their opposition to the ongoing Europeanization of family law. The paper concludes with a discussion of the main findings and their implications.


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