Democratic backsliding and the politicisation of European integration: structures and impact of parliamentary discourses

Project

The project examines the evolution of support for EU enlargement towards the Western Balkans through an analysis of parliamentary debates. It does so in the context of recent democratic backsliding trends among candidate countries, but also certain EU member states, in particular Hungary and Poland. The project aims to map and trace the positions and arguments employed by European political actors regarding questions of enlargement towards South East Europe and to evaluate to what extent such discursive changes affect the practices of EU accession.

The project tackles three central research questions:

  1. The link between populism and EU enlargement: does the emergence of populist forces create new ideological cleavages regarding questions of EU enlargement?

  2. The politicisation of enlargement questions: to what extent does variation in the democratic quality of a candidate country determine the positioning of parliamentary actors towards its accession? Are enlargement decisions meritocratic (linked to the democratic quality of a candidate state and its compliance with membership requirements) or politicised (linked to an actor’s ideological position on Europe)?

  3. The impact of Euroscepticism upon the Western Balkans’ territorial inclusion: what is the impact of the rise of Euroscepticism in European parliaments upon the Western Balkans’ accession perspective?

Team