Europarties Heading East. The Influence of Europarties on Central and Eastern European Partner Parties
The core focus of the project is on the influence of European party federations ("Europarties") on their Central and Eastern European partner parties and their party systems. As a "process within the process" the Eastern enlargement of the European party families occurs within the general Eastern enlargement of the European Union. European party families consist of three components: the national parties, the group in the European parliament and the (extra-parliamentary) Europarty. For structural reasons, Europarties are best suited for the practical accomplishment of Eastern enlargement of European party families. In this process, they search for Central and Eastern European partner parties on which they try to exert influence ("West-Europeanization"). These influences may also affect the relevant national party systems. Despite some notes in the literature, previous analyses show neither how influence is exercised nor which impact it really has on Central and Eastern European parties and party systems. This project aims at filling this research gap by carrying out a comprehensive and systematic empirical analysis of the impact of Europarties on their Hungarian, Slovakian and Romanian counterparts. In addition, the results can also help to shed some light on the more general question as to how much influence external actors may have on developments in young democracies.
The project is currently in the stage of data collection and analysis. Content analyses of Central and Eastern European (CEE) party statutes were already carried out in the three countries under study (Hungary, Slovakia and Romania). Additional data collection is currently being undertaken, namely personal interviews with representatives of Europarties and CEE-partner parties in different European countries. These are now being transcribed and analysed. Furthermore, a model explaining Europarty influence on CEE-partner parties was developed. First results were presented in 2011 and 2012 at several international conferences. First publications will appear in 2013.