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International Conference - Rethinking Conditionality: Incentivising Integration Across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Call for Papers - Section for 2014 ECPR General Conference

Conference venue: Glasgow, UK
Period: September 3-6, 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts: February 10, 2014


Central & East European Studies at the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with the Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies, invites the submission of papers to be included in a Section planned for the forthcoming ECPR General Conference (Glasgow, 3-6 September 2014). 
The selected theme for the Section, endorsed by the ECPR Standing Committee on Central and East European Politics, is: RETHINKING CONDITIONALITY: INCENTIVISING INTEGRATION ACROSS CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA. 

Historically, EU external governance has drawn upon the concept of conditionality’ to inform the speed and direction of integration. In Central, South-Eastern, and (some parts of) Eastern Europe, conditionality has been traditionally associated with EU membership prospects. In contexts where EU membership is not on the agenda (Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia), conditionality emerged as a less valuable EU tool for incentivising engagement. By presenting coordinated partnership as an alternative to membership, the EU redefined the role that conditionality played in its relations with this latter group of states. Ultimately, this policy aimed to lead states towards closer EU association and deeper economic integration with the EU’s internal market.
This Section seeks to re-engage with the ‘conditionality’ concept, by examining how its perception has been modified by recent enlargements and EU approaches to cooperation/integration with its wider neighbourhood. The Section will be structured around four inter-related ‘thematic platforms’:
(1) democracy, good governance and stability;
(2) economic integration and convergence;
(3) energy security and
(4) contacts between people.
These issues will be examined at first vis-à-vis members, candidate, and EaP states. Further, the Section will assess how these platforms transferred to politico-economic engagement with non-EaP states, including Russia and post-Soviet Central Asia.

Eligible topics

Calling for papers to be included in the following panels:

Conditionality is one of the main conceptual tools to analyse EU Eastern enlargement. Numerous authors have assessed the degree, impact and variation of conditionality in different institutional, political and cultural settings. Literature also shows that even in similar settings, the EU
conditionality and outcomes varied across the CEE region. The actual effect of the EU push mostly depended on the degree of domestic compliance, actor constellations and possible veto-players.
This panel examines the multifaceted concept of conditionality in the post-enlargement era, by assessing its role in the Europeanization of new CEE EU member states; reviewing its transformation as an opportunity structure for domestic change vis-à-vis future enlargement; and examining its relevance in the post-enlargement era for formal/informal processes ensuring continuation of reform efforts across the wider Europe. It also seeks to identify key factors affecting the success of conditionality, by assessing not only the quantity of conditionality but also its quality in the individual cases across the CEE region (as well as in a comparative perspective).
Given the decade since the first CEE accession, this panel also considers the legacies of EU conditionality in CEE. Recent developments in Hungary and Romania (2012-2013) highlight how the Copenhagen Criteria remain critical concerns not only for the future enlargement agenda, but also vis-à-vis the existing EU member states. This panel thus also examines how EU conditionality and similar incentive structures need to adapt to sustain democratisation and prevent backsliding in prospective EU member states (such as the Western Balkans including most recently Serbia).

Even in the absence of concrete, EU membership plans for the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the logic of conditionality continues to play a major role in determining EU policy towards this region. For example, in an effort to improve political, economic, and cultural integration, the European Union has tied promises of free trade agreements with demands for tangible domestic reforms. The results of this conditionality, however, have been variable as demonstrated by recent events and political decisions in Ukraine and Armenia. Clearly, the absence of membership prospects in the short or medium-term means that the European Union’s relationship with this region is fundamentally different from those of the 2004/2007 expansions. Arguably, though, Russian influence has also been key in altering the dynamics of conditionality for the EaP countries. This panel therefore focuses on Russian mechanisms of political, economic, and cultural influence in the shared neighbourhood in order to understand the successes and failures of EU policy within this region. A central question is whether EU policy makers have understood Russia’s ideational, economic, and political countermeasures that have the potential to undermine conditionality as it is currently enacted. Additionally, is it appropriate to view the EU and Russia solely as competitors in this region, or should conditionality be modified to adjust to the particular circumstances that characterise this space?

Support for reforms aimed at improving respect for democracy and human rights and promoting the development of civil society constitute a key element of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) strategy, particularly in light of the adoption of the Integration and Cooperation (EaPIC) programme and the ‘more for more’ principle in June 2012. This principle seeks to provide ‘incentive-based financial assistance’ to those EaP countries that deliver on reforms for deep democracy and respect for human rights. This panel examines the impact this approach has had on governance, stability and institution-building in the region, and the extent to which the EU’s interest in promoting human rights and civil society development in the region must compete with more instrumental political and economic concerns. It also aims to explore whether or not the EU is using an implicit or explicit ‘conditionality approach’ in order to promote particular human rights norms and modes of civil society development. The panel welcomes papers which focus on theoretical, conceptual or empirical aspects of these issues and which examine the relationship between the EU and one or more of the countries currently participating in the EaP strategy (Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).

EU regional partnership initiatives all contain references to energy security. This panel explores how the European Union and its partners have sought to institutionalise energy cooperation, draw synergies across regional initiatives and support the development of an integrated European energy market. With reference to southeastern European and EaP states, questions are asked about whether enhanced cooperation on energy, linked to the ‘more for more’ principle, can provide suitable incentives for greater integration in economic spheres without increasing demands for political integration.

How effective is conditionality in contexts where accession to the European Union is not at stake? This panel seeks to answer this question, by advancing a comparative analysis of cases from post-Soviet Central Asia and the Middle East/North Africa region. EU approaches to politico-economic relations with partners located beyond the neighbourhood will be tested against the politics of authoritarianism, which equally characterises the quality of governance in Central Asia and the Middle East. When observing EU policies in these contexts, attention will be centred on the policy approaches designed by EU policy-makers. When looking at regional contexts, papers presented to this panel will assess how EU policies incentivise and contribute to the stability of the local regimes, questioning in this sense the adoption of para-conditional policies in contexts where conditionality appears to hold limited relevance.

Guidelines for submission

Paper proposals, including a title and a 100-word abstract, should be emailed by 10 February 2014 to the Section’s co-chair, Dr Luca Anceschi, at Prospective authors, while drafting their proposal, should address the central themes of the Section, while placing their paper in one of the 5 panels included in the Section. The authors of selected papers will be contacted on 11 February, and final submission of panels through the MyECPR system is due on 15 February 2014. The Section’s organisers have detailed plan to publish selected papers in quality outlets.
Please note that very limited travel funds are available for selected presenters, with preference given to scholars based in Central & Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.


Information & contacts

Dr Luca Anceschi
Glasgow University
tel.: +44 (0)141 330 6559

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