Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej 16 (2018) Zeszyt 5

Central Europe: issues, developments, policies
Central Europe: issues, developments, policies

Articles in this Issue

Querying Central Europe in 2018: Between the Shadow of Communism and a New Normalcy

Keywords: Communism

Liberal Democracy vs. Autocracy: the Case of Ukraine


The object of this paper is to determine what kind of state is being built in Ukraine: a liberal-democratic or an authoritarian one. This article gives a brief overview of the concepts of the ‘rule of law’, ‘liberal democracy’, and ‘hybrid regimes’. It shows general trends in the status and development of democracy in East-Central Europe and identifies the main risks for democracy development in Ukraine. The paper closely examines the public administration and the judicial system of Ukraine, the work of its Central Election Commission (CEC), and the functioning of mass media and social media. The article shows that the powers of the presidential office have been expanded since 2016 while at the same time undermining democratic institutions established in the aftermath of the Euromaidan revolution.

Constructing the Reality: the Perception of the European Union in the 2018 Hungarian Electoral Campaign

Keywords: Communism, European Union

The European Union as a sui generis political system has had its political myths from the beginning of its existence. However, as political myths are not static but are subject to change as groups in the society come up with alternative explanations, countermyths started to emerge already in the 1980s. In our days, we witness competing views – myths and countermyths – on the EU that are presented in politics. In this paper I examine the use of these competing views on the EU in the 2018 Hungarian electoral campaign. I conclude that while FIDESZ and its leader Viktor Orbán applied all countermyths of the EU in his speeches, opposition parties did not talk at all about the European Union, thus leaving the positive myths about the EU unheard during the campaign.

The New Research Agenda of Examining Organized Interests in Post-Communist Policy-Making


This paper presents new research agenda focused on organised interests in selected policy areas in the post-communist countries. In recent years, political scientists have made significant advancements in comparatively analysing the influence of organized interests in the political process. However, the post-communist region has been largely neglected. Instead, large bodies of research have focussed on formal political institutions, party systems and the Europeanization of public administrations in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The research agenda discussed here seeks to overcome this research gap by exploring the structures, democratic-participative incorporation and impact of organized interests on policy-making in four postcommunist EU members: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary.

Public Policy in Poland in Context of Tendencies Unfolding in Central Europe. Conclusions from Case Studies

Keywords: public policy, public management, decision-making process, policy research, policy analysis

A specific feature of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is that they lack the tradition of creating public policies using methods similar to those applied in mature democracies. And the consequences of this lack of tradition remain visible today, notwithstanding the fact that communism fell over 25 years ago now. For the potential for programming actions (policy capacity), as well as for implementing policies effectively and evaluating them, remains limited. The author presents the results of one of the few studies to be carried out on public policy in Poland. The aim has been to test a research hypothesis pertaining to the circumstances in which public policy in regard to an emergent problem is formulated. The creation of such a policy was in fact found to depend on a constellation of three factors: a significant threat to stability under a given policy, decision-makers who think that legislative tools for action are enough to achieve the desired result, and an emergent dominant stakeholder who achieves a decisive influence over the decision-making process.

The Institutional Design of Audiovisual Media Regulators: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe

Keywords: CEE, comparative research, audiovisual media, regulation, institutional design

The role played by National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) as key institutional actors in the governance of various sectors has attracted substantial scholarly interest. Much of the literature examines why governments allow the creation of independent regulatory authorities, and how these bodies retain their independence. In contrast to the rich literature on the regulation of utility sectors, the number of studies dealing with the audiovisual media sector is rather limited. This study addresses this gap and provides an extensive comparative analysis of the institutional design of national media regulators in 12 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. It introduces a revised typology of media regulators, complementing current classifications, by answering two research questions: What are the main institutional characteristics of media regulators in CEE countries? To what extent do media watchdogs share similarities or display differences regarding the institutional setups? The analysis focuses on scrutinising the organisational design, funding, accountability mechanisms and regulatory competencies.

European Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes on Polish Borders: Determinants of Cross-Border Effects, Weaknesses and Necessary Changes

Keywords: European cross-border cooperation programme, cross-border effect, border region, regional policy, European integration

European cross-border cooperation programmes (ECCPs) implemented on Polish borders during two completed programming periods (2004-2006 and 2007-2013) had a positive impact on border regions the programmes covered. At the same time, their weaknesses, identified in the subject matter literature, did not allow full use of the potential of cross-border cooperation. The aim of the paper is to show the most important weaknesses of the programmes and to propose ways to overcome them. The first way to do so is to analyse the main determinants of the so-called ‘cross-border effects’ (CBEs). The second idea is to characterise and evaluate the institutional system of the ECCPs The third way is to propose a systemic solution to the problems with the ECCPs. It is proposed in the form of a strategic approach to borderlands development. Finally, the weaknesses of the ECCPs are divided into ‘technical’ and ‘chronic’ ones, with outlining the appropriate measures for limiting both categories.

‘Polish, Hungarian, Cousins Be’: Comparative Discourse on Muslims and the Refugee Crisis in Europe

Keywords: Hungary, Poland, Islamophobia, Muslims, EU, refugees

Hungary and Poland used to have much in common, as the saying in the title suggests. Yet, it seems that in recent years, this phrase has acquired new meaning as both countries became enfants terrible in EU politics. One of the earliest and most significant indicators of this change was their stance towards Muslims and refugees during the 2014 crisis in Europe. The paper analyses how the similar historical development in both countries and ethnic interests shaped their domestic and international policy towards symbolic and real benefits from the crisis even though the refugees in Hungary left at the beginning of 2016 and Poland had not even been touched by it. For that purpose, the political and social discourse on Muslims and the refugee crisis in Hungary and Poland were compared. Interestingly, both countries lack any significant Muslim or refugee communities and so their anti-Muslim and antirefugee sentiments have to be framed around an EU narrative. Thus, Hungarian and Polish membership in the EU seems to be modulated in relation to the refugee crisis and European Muslim communities and used to further the national political agenda.

The State, Diaspora Policy and Immigrant Organizations – Lessons from the Polish Case

Keywords: Diaspora policy, Polonia policy, immigrant organizations, migration

This paper examines the relations between immigrant organizations and the institutions of their state of origin as well as the influence of those relations on situation of such organizations. It focuses specifically on the case of Poland over the period 1989-2015 in which significant changes with regards to diaspora policy were introduced. In other words, a shift from a model based on capacity building policies to a model focused on extracting obligations from the diaspora has taken place. These changes have had considerable impact on the role and capacity of Polish immigrant organizations as well as their relations with the Polish state.

Looking for Environmental Migrants in the Receiving Country – the Example of Migrants from Chosen Countries of North Africa in Poland

Keywords: environmental migrants, mixed-method approach, hard-to-reach populations, migration to Poland, migration from North Africa

The majority of the research investigating environmental migration is focused on source areas and little on host countries. As a consequence, a common approach to finding environmental migrants in the destination country is lacking. The aim of this paper is to present a mixed method with a quantitative (survey) and qualitative part (in-depth interviews) that was used to find environmental migrants in Poland. The research was carried out among Egyptians, Moroccans, and Tunisians. For research purposes, the definition of an environmental migrant was extended to three generations. Therefore, under investigation were the motivations and history of migration of the migrant himself, and his father and grandfather as well. The results show that environmental migrants in the destination country are a hard-to-survey population, as they comprise a group that is hard to sample, identify, find or contact, get to cooperate, and to interview. It was found, moreover, that limited knowledge regarding their father’s and grandfathers’ migration history and motivations limited the possibility to analyse how environment influenced the migration decisions of previous generations. The migration decision of the investigated migrants was influenced by other factors, such as education, marriage, or looking for a job. Although none of the investigated persons was an environmental migrant, the Moroccan interviewees mentioned the environment as a factor influencing the departure of people from their areas of origin. In the case of Egypt, however, it was difficult to link the migration decision to environmental factors.