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62 Program on Central and Eastern Europe

EU Accession and a New Populist Center-Periphery Cleavage in Central and Eastern Europe "

Jul 24, 2024 Cas Mudde


The finalized "Return to Europe" of the new EU members states of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has created a whole new ballgame for Eurosceptic political actors. In rational choice terms, the costs of Euroscepticism (and even Eurorejection) have gone down dramatically, while the benefits will most probably go even further up. While the effects of EU accession on the party systems of CEE are multifold, this paper develops one possible effect: the transformation of the already present regional divide within CEE countries into a populist, anti-EU center-periphery cleavage.