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Post-Accession Malaise? EU Conditionality, Domestic Politics and Anti-Corruption Policy in Hungary

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 11 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2010 Pages: 164-177
Agnes Batory
Date Published
May 2010
14 pages
This study explored the interplay of international and national influences in anticorruption efforts and in particular assessing the impact of European Union (EU) conditionality during pre- and post-accession to the EU with respect to the country of Hungary.
Corruption in the then candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe was a major concern for the European Union (EU) before its 2004 enlargement. This concern and its expression in the conditionality of membership constituted strong incentives for the candidate countries' governments to control corruption - or more precisely to take control measures that could be communicated to the European Union. A common assumption in the literature is that with the removal by accession of these incentives anti-corruption efforts would not be maintained at their pre-accession level. But is this really the case? Or have other influences from international organizations, domestic politics or civil society taken over to provide impetus for further corruption control interventions? This article considers these questions with respect to Hungary and finds that while some of the post-2004 measures have been a response to the country's international commitments, there have also been important domestic sources of reform. The results are, however, limited: despite the country's relatively smooth path to the European Union, membership of all the major international legal instruments and three major reform packages since 2000, corruption seems no less prevalent than it was a decade before. (Published Abstract)