Negotiating the accession: transformation of the state during German unification and the Eastern enlargement of the European Union
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This dissertation examines the profound transformations in post-1989 Europe by comparing and contrasting the unification of Germany and the European Union's (EU) eastern enlargement to the Czech Republic as two integration processes during which (post)-communist states were incorporated into Western-style democratic political structures. The main research questions are how and by what means a post-communist state can be transformed through political integration and how the (post)-communist state can influence this process of political integration. The research is thus two-directional: it examines both the 'downloading' side of the process, in which the 'accepting' unit imposes its structures (political institutions, legal order, economic system) on the 'entering' unit, and the 'uploading'/impact side, in which the entering unit changes under pressure from the accepting unit while influencing the transformation process. The dissertation develops two models of political integration, Transplantation and Adaptation. Both possess a wider applicability than the two cases studied. Transplantation involves an immediate integration with a strong leader, no preconditions and no preceding reforms on either part. Rather a simple transfer principle occurs. Adaptation, in contrast, entails a gradual, long-term integration with bureaucratic oversight and the use of 'political conditionality' until the candidate states reach an acceptable political and economic level vis-a-vis the accepting unit. Speed and the impact of the local actors are the key factors distinguishing the two models of political integration. An interdisciplinary methodology is employed which blends the traditions of political science and political sociology. At the center of the research is an extensive series of 90 semi-structured interviews conducted in German, Czech, and English with key political actors that offer new perspectives on the dynamics of the processes of unification and enlargement. The dissertation examines in detail the negotiation processes that led to German unification (Transplantation) and, using the case of the Czech Republic, the eastern enlargement of the EU (Adaptation). It concludes by drawing several general lessons.
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