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Preference Formation in the New EU Member States: the cases of Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic

What shapes a Member State's preferences on European integration? Previous explorations into national preference formation have generated a number of different explanations including size, societal interests, dependency, ideology and unique historical experiences, but these studies were restricted to the older Member States of Western Europe.

Focusing on tax harmonisation, social policy, further enlargement and the Lisbon Treaty, the proposed research seeks to examine the role played by the ideology of the governing parties, the relative power of interest groups and public opinion in three new EU Member States: Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In particular the research tests hypotheses indicating that ideology and big business shape preference formation on socio-economic questions, especially where organised labour is weak and if the country had a more complicated transition path, but that the interests of the foreign ministry largely determine policy stances on other policy areas such as further enlargement.

The research combines an extensive analysis of declarations and position papers produced by the respective governments, ministries, governing parties and business and union groupings since May 2004 with a series of semi-structured interviews with leading politicians, policy-makers and civil servants.

  • Outputs (23)