We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Civil society in Central and Eastern Europe: Th...
View graph of relations

« Back

Civil society in Central and Eastern Europe: The ambivalent legacy of accession

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date04/2010
JournalActa Politica
Number of pages29
Original languageEnglish


Civil society organisations in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have remained weak players compared to their counterparts in established democracies. Given the particular incentives that the EU offered for the empowerment of non-state actors during pre-accession, it has often been assumed that EU intervention improved this situation. We argue that, instead, the EU's impact was highly ambivalent. Although the EU aid and EU-induced policy reform levelled the way for established actors' involvement in multilevel politics, it reinforced some of the barriers to development that the civil society organisations face in CEE. In particular, EU measures have failed to address the lack of sustainable income, of formalised interactions with the state and of grassroot support. Drawing on the experiences of trade unions and environmental groups, we show that this ambivalent 'legacy of accession' is due to an unfortunate interrelation between various, often implicit mechanisms of the EU's enlargement regime on one hand, and particular problems inherited from state socialism and transition on the other. Acta Politica (2010) 45, 41-69. doi: 10.1057/ap.2009.18