What factors make some democracies more resilient and others more prone to democratic backsliding? Thirty years after the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the political trajectories of the region’s new democracies still defy expectations. Countries long-considered leaders in transitions to democracy and capitalism (Hungary, Poland) have experienced democratic backsliding and rising Euroscepticism.
Meanwhile, the laggards of post-communist transitions and EU accession (Romania, Bulgaria) now score higher that their Visegrad counterparts on some measures of democratic quality and retain EU support. What explains the unevenness of democratic consolidation in the region? This talk will argue, that the way in which European citizenship is practiced as intra-EU free movement matters.
Even in times of crisis, European integration and liberalism maintain their appeal in countries, where large parts of the population depend on European citizenship in their living-making. The talk wil focus on high-mobility migrants from Romania and Poland, the EU’s main migrant-sending countries, and highlights migrants’ contributions to political change in their homelands. Findings show that intra-EU mobility influences sociopolitical attitudes, voting, and the state-citizen relationship when people become economically emancipated from the national labor market (by working abroad) but remain politically rooted.
Findings also show that, paradoxically, a longer history of migration and state-led diaspora engagement limits the political incorporation of intra-EU migrants. A laissez-faire approach provides more space for bottom-up, citizen-led mobilization, empowering intra-EU movers as political actors.
The New Research on Europe Seminar serves as a weekly forum in which CES Visiting Scholars present their work. Scholars present their work in a form accessible to scholars working in fields other than their own. Papers may be circulated in advance, although this is not required.
The seminar encourages discussions across disciplinary as well as national boundaries. After each presentation, there is ample time for critique and discussion, followed by the CES Friday Lunch. This seminar is open to the public.