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Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors$
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Jan Zielonka and Alex Pravda

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244096

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019924409X.001.0001

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The Czech Republic: The Unexpected Force of Institutional Constraints

The Czech Republic: The Unexpected Force of Institutional Constraints

Chapter:
(p.325) 12 The Czech Republic: The Unexpected Force of Institutional Constraints
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors
Author(s):

Milada Anna Vachudová

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019924409X.003.0013

Describes the influence of the international institutions in shaping democratic consolidation and economic reform in the Czech Republic as a case study of an East European state that strongly wished to join those institutions. The chapter traces the changing nature of international influence on the consolidation of Czech democracy as the polity passed through four stages. The first was characterized by profound yet diffuse influence. In the second stage, Western influence was delimited by two factors: (1) ‘homemade’ reform by Prime Minister Václav Klaus, a mix of Czech provincialism, free market ideology, and political pragmatism; and (2) insufficient pressure of NATO and the EU to compel reforms. The third stage saw increased EU criticism of economic performance, corruption, and racism. The fourth stage was characterized by the weakening of the EU membership argument for difficult reforms. Overall, the Czech case shows that the conditionality of the EU depends on a certain tension between confidence in securing membership and fear of suffering rejection due to inadequate reform.

Keywords:   conditionality, Czech Republic, democratic consolidation, economic reform, EU, international institutions, membership, NATO, Václav Klaus

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