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Title: EU conditionality, double moderation and change in minority rights : Bulgaria in comparative perspective
Author: Kutlay, Muzaffer
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 8532
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation proposes a two-level model that explains under which external and domestic conditions substantive reforms take place in minority rights policies in new EU member and candidate countries. Due to the politicised nature of EU conditionality and high adoption costs of reforms for national governments, minority rights reforms are generally considered among the most difficult areas whereby EU's impact tends to remain limited. However, as demonstrated with reference to the Bulgarian case, significant improvement in inter-ethnic relations can take place despite the patchy nature of EU conditionality and high domestic adoption costs. The analytical model sketched out in this study, therefore, criticises mainstream accounts of Europeanisation as they are inclined to conceive the domestic area as an obstacle, which impedes compliance in aspiring states. As such, this dissertation argues that the domestic realm can also be exploited as an opportunity space that empowers EU leverage, which in turn, informs minority-friendly policies through direct and indirect ways. Along these lines, it develops a more comprehensive approach that acknowledges the complex interaction of external and domestic parameters affecting contentious policy areas and cases. Drawing on 85 semi-structured in-depth elite interviews and driven by a set of empirical puzzles with reference to Bulgaria as well as the contrasting cases of Croatia and Montenegro, this dissertation argues that major changes could take place in minority rights regimes when (a) domestic dissatisfaction leads to double moderation between majority and minority elites, (b) EU-level pressure remains consistent and credible, and (c) state capacity undergirds effective implementation in new member and candidate countries. This dissertation makes two important contributions to scholarship: first, it develops a novel theoretical framework that accounts for the dynamics of complex transformation in the minority rights policies that existing top-down and bottom-up approaches cannot entirely explain. Second, by applying the two-level model to Bulgaria, Croatia and Montenegro, it sheds empirical light on three understudied Balkan countries with tormented past concerning majority-minority relations.
Supervisor: Whitman, Richard ; Loizides, Neophytos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available