Money, Margins and the Motors of Politics: The EU and the Development of Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe


  • Tim Haughton

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Birmingham
    • Correspondence:

      Tim Haughton

      Centre for Russian and East European Studies

      Department of Political Science and International Studies

      School of Government and Society

      University of Birmingham

      Birmingham B15 2TT, UK


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  •  Numerous people have helped at various points during the preparation of this article. I would like to express my thanks to Tanja Börzel, Karin Bottom, Rachel Epstein, Antoaneta Dimitrova, John Gould, Isabelle Hertner, Abby Innes, Wade Jacoby, Julia Langbein, Gergo Medve-Balint, Jessica Preece, George Schöpflin, Ulrich Sedelmeier, Plamen Sendrev, Milada Anna Vachudova and two anonymous reviewers.


In line with expectations EU membership has only a limited impact on party politics in the new Member States of central and eastern Europe (CEE); even the economic crisis has not altered this level of impact. An examination of party positioning, party appeals and party competition indicates the EU plays the role of a boundary keeper, a reference point and a weapon to be invoked in domestic competition, particularly to lambast opponents for their incompetence, especially when it comes to the ability to access and manage EU funds. Underlying parties' stances on European integration are the deep-rooted vulnerabilities which help explain why the CEE states recognize the necessity of co-operation and a pooling of sovereignty at the European level.