European Politics: Pasts, presents, futures

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Although this book deals with bi-regional cooperatio n in STI, such cooperation is not an end in itself. It is indeed a means to an end. Hence, STI endeavours must be considered in conjunction with development efforts. So the uptake and application of research results is pivotal. There is a plethora of policies and instruments related to STI, on the one hand, and development issues, on the other—at both EU and AU ends. Those policies and instruments need to be integrated into a coherent whole with a view to informing and underpinning development efforts with technologies stemming from research projects.

This is not an easy task. Bridging the gap between STI and development efforts has been the subject of a long-standing and continuing discussion e. The regular College-to-College meetings serve the same purpose of ensuring political commitment and technical follow-up on the implementation of the strategy. These fora will provide the needed follow-up of the policy aspirations of the continental authorities and provide an arena for professional interaction among policymakers, technocrats and development practitioners across Africa and the EU as an essential first step towards bridging the gap between science and global development Barugahara and Tostensen b ; Diyamett The relative importance and priority in terms of resource envelopes accorded to research as distinct from development activities requires conceptual attention.

Taking this into consideration, a greater appreciation of the uncertainties of research endeavours is required when balancing the funding priorities between STI and development interventions. The interface between STI and development efforts requires the building of operational models for bridging the existing gap. The models of collaboration between policymakers, scientists and practitioners with a view to achieving a greater uptake of research findings for development ends are essential components of development cooperation. This is only possible if the models are workable; that is, involving all relevant stakeholders operating on a common understanding and within a policy environment conducive to such collaboration.

It would probably not be possible to arrive at a generic collaborative model that would fit all circumstances and sectors. ERAfrica is a new platform for research collaboration between Africa and Europe, co-funded by the EU and the collaborating partners, at a ratio of The ERAfrica and the associated LEAP-Agri project model might herald the establishment of such innovative and viable models of development cooperation. Greater emphasis should be placed on the application aspects of Horizon projects in order to enhance the uptake of research outputs. Encompassing the aspirations of the two continents in development and STI, these policy documents constitute key elements of Africa—Europe cooperation.

All of these frameworks note the challenges ahead, especially relating to the digital and economic divides between the two continents that characterise the cooperation landscape. Moreover, closing the existing digital and economic divides between developed and developing economies lends itself to joint bi-regional efforts.

Given the potential dividends of STI, dialogue and negotiation across many themes and sectors between the two continents have given rise to a number of policy initiatives and funding schemes to facilitate bi-regional collaboration in joint endeavours. Apart from basic research, emphasis is increasingly put on the application of findings towards meeting major global challenges such as food and nutrition security, health and climate change.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Open Access. First Online: 08 February Download chapter PDF. Introduction Science, technology and innovation STI cooperation between Europe and Africa has undergone significant change in the past decade. The Cotonou Agreement In , in the context of both African decolonisation and the early stages of building the modern-day European Union EU , the Treaty of Rome made a provision for the creation of a European Development Fund EDF with a view to granting technical and financial assistance to African countries, some of which at that time were still colonies of European powers.

The Joint Africa—EU Strategy —Present From a starting point of largely separate continental approaches to STI strategies, the JAES specified the terms of engagement between the two continents, aiming to strengthen political partnership and cooperation. Re-balancing Cooperation There is robust evidence worldwide that greater use of technology is a major factor in enhancing productivity-driven growth and industrial competitiveness Solow ; Temple ; Barro and Sala-i-Martin ; Romer Bridging the Gap Between Science and Global Development The world is facing formidable development challenges, above all reducing poverty and food insecurity.

Accessed 8 May First action plan — for the implementation of the Africa-EU strategic partnership. Joint Africa-EU strategy: Action plan — Barro, R. Economic growth 2nd ed. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar. Barugahara, I. Science and technology for development: The institutional landscape in Africa and Europe. Accessed 9 May Booth, D. The political economy of development in Africa: A joint statement from five research programmes. Court, J. Bridging research and policy in development: Evidence and the change process.

The Council of the EU is not to be confused with the European Council, made up of all the heads of state or government of EU member countries, or the Council of Europe, a human rights organization unaffiliated with the EU. That institutional mess is partly why the upcoming elections for a new European Parliament have prompted so much skepticism among voters.

Turnout was not high in the first European Parliament elections, in , and it has only fallen since. In the last elections, in , just 43 percent of EU citizens voted, with turnout rates across eastern Europe averaging below 30 percent.

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Parties are happy to nominate anonymous functionaries who take orders from their respective capitals. In the election, only one out of ten British voters could name their MEP. Yet the elections, which will take place May 23—26, matter more than most voters realize or most politicians acknowledge. The European Parliament helps write the laws that govern more than million people.

There have been, to be sure, certain commonalities among the postsocialist states. On the political side which is less easy to summarize with numbers , we can offer the following examples.

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Only five of the states in the region existed in their present form during the socialist era Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania ; another three were states during the interwar period, but not during the cold war era Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania ; and the remaining nineteen are new formations though some of these, such as Serbia, have historical claims to independent statehood. On one axis, we can compare regime form, where the range extends from fully democratic to partially democratic to largely authoritarian to fully authoritarian orders.

Here, for instance, the contrast runs from Hungary, where neither the state nor the regime is in question, to Bosnia, where both are today subjects of considerable contestation 9. What explains the variable political and economic paths the regimes in the region have taken? It is to these questions that I now turn. I will begin with the economic side of the equation. The picture that emerges is, of course, one of remarkable diversity in such areas as level of development, size of the agricultural labor force, economic growth, income distribution, and implementation of economic reforms or the size of the private sector in the economy and a combined measure that includes this along with liberalization of markets, foreign trade, and domestic prices.

First, there is the disastrous economic performance of postsocialism, particularly in the early years. Here, it is useful to note the following. First, the economic decline of the region in the first five or so years of postsocialism was greater than that registered by economies during the Great Depression Second, if we take comparable years and comparable measures or average annual GDP growth, , as measured by the World Bank , the economic growth rates for southern Europe Greece, Portugal, Spain and Latin America—two other regions undergoing democratization and economic reforms—were approximately three times as high as those registered for the postsocialist countries At the same time, the variance in postsocialist economic performance—or the contrast between 2.

The figures for Bosnia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan are very rough estimates and may not be comparable to those for the other countries in this table. However, this is not the only way in which postsocialism stands out. These countries are also unusual in three other respects, all of which testify, as did the costs of economic transformation, to the powerful impact of the socialist past.

One is that the agrarian sector in these countries is very small, given the norm for all countries at a matching level of economic development. Another is that income distribution is still unusually equal, even when we allow for level of economic development Finally, there is the problem, unusually pronounced in the postsocialist context, of states that fail to provide a stable and predictable business environment.

East-Central Europe, Subsaharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Northern Africa, Southern and Southeastern Asia, and the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—in its failure to provide law and order, security of property rights, and predictability of both rule application and policy implementation given, in particular, corruption, an unreliable judiciary, and unstable governments Thus, the economic profile of the former Soviet Union contrasts sharply with that of East-Central Europe, whether the focus is on adoption of economic reforms or on measures of economic performance.

The Baltic states manage to bridge the two areas, given their relatively high economic reform scores, but their poor economic performance. Put simply, political leaders in the Soviet successor regimes have been less likely than their counterparts in East-Central Europe to introduce economic reforms, and the economies in the former Soviet Union have on the whole contracted far more sharply than the postsocialist economies to the West.

The other and related consideration is temporal. While the recessionary effects of the economic transformation were undeniably large in the early years of postsocialism and, indeed, were of such magnitude that only one economy in the region managed to be larger in than it was in Thus, for example, beginning in , the East-Central European economies, when taken as a whole, began to grow, and they have continued to do so in subsequent years.

While similar in overall pattern, however, economic performance over time in the former Soviet Union varies in its details. There, the economic downturn appeared later, and it has lasted a good deal longer. What seems to distinguish East-Central Europe including the Baltic states from the Soviet successor states, therefore, are three related factors: whether there was an economic reform, how long the economic slide lasted, and when the economy began to recover On the one hand, Russia lies in many respects at the regional economic mean.

On these dimensions, therefore, Russia does not stand out as unusual.

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On the other hand, Russia does seem to be exceptional—at least by regional economic standards—in certain ways For example, the distribution of income in Russia, while typical of the region at the beginning of the transformation, is now unusually unequal though more typical within the larger setting of countries at roughly the same level of economic development ; foreign trade seems to play an unusually small role in the Russian economy; and Russia introduced economic reforms midstream, a rare example within the region The more common pattern in postsocialism has been to introduce significant reforms early with a marked tendency for them to be sustained , to avoid such reforms, or to introduce piecemeal measures accompanied by significant and enduring political conflict In particular, there seems to be a modest relationship between level of economic development as indicated by gross national product [GNP] per capita or, alternatively, by the size of the agricultural labor force and economic reform score and a stronger correlation between economic reform score and economic performance.

These correlations can be most easily seen once we group our countries into two categories: those with moderate to high economic reform scores ranging from 5. Thus, as Table 4 indicates, the two groups present a clear contrast in terms of average GNP per capita, average size of the agricultural sector, and average growth.

One should not, of course, read too much into these data—especially given recent changes in some of these cases with respect to economic performance and economic reform as in, say, the Albanian case and to the effects of choosing one cut-off point over another. However, at the very least we can observe that: 1 economic reform seems to have economic payoffs, especially following initial recessionary effects which tend to be shorter in duration in reformed contexts ; and 2 the more economically developed countries in the region seem to be more likely to implement economic reforms.


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A final conclusion is also warranted, especially in view of the differential capacity of these countries to attract foreign investment. Here, the key question involves identifying factors that seem to explain differences in economic reform scores among the postsocialist countries. In a recent and careful statistical study that takes a number of possible social, cultural, political, and economic factors into account including some of the factors in Tables 8. Put in more straightforward terms: Economic reforms were more likely to be introduced, implemented, and sustained if the former communists lost the initial election following the collapse of communist party hegemony.

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This seems to be the case, moreover, whatever the political orientation of the opposition and their constituency base, and if that opposition included former communists among its ranks. Where the former communists won the first postsocialist election, however, one of two patterns materialized: either economic reforms were introduced, but then were sabotaged as in, say, Bulgaria , or they were never seriously considered or fully implemented the dominant pattern represented in Belarus, Serbia-Montenegro, Ukraine, and much of Central Asia and the Transcaucasus.

In the first instance, the former communists faced a highly competitive political environment and in the second, a less competitive one. Russia, of course, fits the first model, given its midstream and compromised economic reform and given the contrasting electoral outcomes for the parliament versus the presidency. However, the real trick is explaining the explanation.

Put more directly: What is it about the outcome of the first election that affects economic reform? We could take the obvious route and argue that this is simply a question of interests and ideology. Thus, a liberal opposition with, by definition, no stake in the old order would prefer economic reform to the alternatives. When joined with an electoral mandate, desire for economic reforms was then combined with considerable capacity to carry through such reforms.

And once the reforms were in place, they generated supporters that allowed the reforms to continue On the other hand, the former communists were illiberal, again by definition, and had vested interests in defending the old order. With an electoral mandate, they were able to combine resistance to such reforms with political power—though not usually at the level they once enjoyed, given a more competitive order and given often narrow or ambiguous electoral victories. One is that the liberal credentials of at least some of the victorious opposition forces are questionable At the very least, what was common to the winning oppositions was not a liberal ideology so much as an anticommunist project.

This introduces an important consideration: whether we should see economic reform as a commitment to a liberal economy though in many instances this was crucial or, alternatively, as a powerful mechanism one of several to root out the old order. The latter interpretation makes more sense because it identifies a clear commonality among the politically successful opposition forces; it recognizes the diametrically opposed principles defining capitalism and socialism; it treats economic reforms, as a result, as a means of using the former to end the latter; and it resonates with the thrust of public opinion at the time when and in the places where these reforms were introduced Thus, just as there were few groups that could be confident about payoffs from the economic transition, so the economic and, therefore, political costs of such a transition, at least in the short-term, were unknown but logically high.

Indeed, many of the very people who introduced these economic reforms were members of the Academy of Sciences—an overemployed and economically inefficient public sector that could expect to dwindle sharply in budgets and, thus, in personnel once economic reforms began to make their presence felt. What I am suggesting, therefore, is that the overarching commitment to either completing or forestalling the revolution begun in and the necessarily conjoined political and economic form of that commitment, rather than the economic interests of decision-makers and their political constituencies, seem to do a better job of making sense of this particular and peculiar context.

One is why the opposition was so committed to destroying the socialist economy, even when that would seemingly entail considerable political costs, particularly in the short term—which is, after all, what democratic politics is usually about. I can suggest two factors that supported the rush to economic reform. One is the recent empirical record of capitalism versus socialism and the demonstrable success of both economic reforms and structural adjustment packages in other parts of the world albeit often producing political turmoil in the process There was, in short, a widespread understanding that the preferable option, particularly in the medium and long run, was economic reform—an option that would generate in time both economic growth and political support.

If the opposition did not digest this message when communist party hegemony ended in many instances through widespread public protests , then they certainly must have done so when publics voted them into power. Thus, one could argue that where the opposition was victorious, it enjoyed not just a mandate to rule, but also an unusually clear message about what ruling should entail Both of these political assets encouraged decision-makers to introduce economic reforms while giving them the luxury of assuming—rare in democratic politics—that they had some political time to show economic results.

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In this sense, it was not so much economic interests as, I would argue, a variant of the public interest that produced these reforms and that rendered them politically tolerable as well. However, where such consensus was missing and where that translated into different kinds of electoral results, decisions about such reforms were influenced by the familiar considerations of self-interest.

Just as the former communists favored a continuation of the old system in some form or at least time to position themselves well in the event that a new order would evolve , so they quite rightly feared the economic and, therefore, political costs of moving in the other direction—with the political costs understood not just as the loss of their influence through privatization and deregulation of the economy, but also as political unrest.

The understandable fear, therefore, was that economic reforms could very well undercut both their economic and political power—a process that was already underway as a consequence of the deregulation of their political hegemony. Thus far, we have discussed economic reforms as a product of proximate influences—in particular, the interests, economic and political, and the resources, again economic and political, of the opposition versus the former communists.

However, now we need to bring in the socialist past. It is not accidental to borrow communist parlance for a moment that the opposition won the first election in those countries where there had been sizeable, cross-class, and relatively consensual mass protests during the socialist era.

These protests were sometimes considerable and sometimes only a few years prior to the end of communist party hegemony—contrasting here, for instance, Poland in and in , Hungary in , Czechoslovakia in , Croatia in , and Armenia in versus Slovenia from to and the Baltic states from to Moreover, these protests were sometimes directed solely at the regimes as in the earlier Polish, Hungarian, and Czechoslovak cases, along with Czechoslovakia in ; primarily at the state as in Croatia and Armenia ; or at both as with the Baltic and Slovenian cases, along with Czechoslovakia in and They created counterregimes- and sometimes counterstates- in-waiting.

This meant that regime collapse could be quickly followed by new regime construction; that is, by a process wherein the old system was quickly and thoroughly deregulated, the opposition won the first elections handily, and the revolutionary momentum was continued through the introduction of thorough-going economic reforms Other countries, however, had very different experiences during socialism and, thus, different political and economic capacities once communist party hegemony ended. Thus, in some countries there were two well-defined alternatives in place, publics and oppositional elites could move quickly to embrace the liberal option once communist party hegemony ended, and the quick result was competition that was intraregime in form; but in most other countries in the region, alternatives lacked definition, support for these was fragmented, regime choice was hedged, and competition, as a result, was either prevented or took an interregime form That is, the variance in postsocialist economies and the ways in which this variance testifies not to the power of the present and future in structuring what happened after socialism but, rather, to the opposite: the power of the socialist past.

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In this sense, while the similarities of that past produced some commonalities in the postsocialist project, it was the diversity of the state socialist experience that was crucial in producing diverse points of economic and, it would appear, political departure State socialism, in short, remained important long after it exited from the political stage, and it functioned as both a homogenizing and as a diversifying force.

This is not just because power— the measure of politics—lacks the quantitative simplicity of money. The difficulty also lies in some other complications. One is that there is no consensus regarding the meaning or the measurement of the three most important aspects of politics that speak directly to the nature and quality of governance in the postsocialist world: political stability, state strength, and regime type or the continuum ranging from democracy to dictatorship.

Another is that each of these political indicators are multidimensional; their dimensions do not necessarily correlate and neither, for that matter, do the three indicators.

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For instance, while Kazakhstan is stable but not very democratic, Bulgaria is unstable but far more democratic; while Latvia looks quite democratic with respect to the provision of political liberties and civil rights, its exclusionary policies regarding voting rights for minority populations make it less democratic; and while Russia has a fully inclusive electorate and free and fair elections, the weakness of its state and the continuing war of laws between the center and the regions mean that elected officials there, particularly at the center, lack the capacity to translate public preferences into public policy and, therefore, to provide genuine accountability.

Thus, if we were to focus on the first years of the transformation, we might judge Albania, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan as presenting an impressive democratic profile. However, subsequent developments in these three countries suggest that such a conclusion would have been premature or, at the very least, time-bound. Political stability, in my view, is the capacity of the regime or the organization of political power and the state or a political entity defined by space and granted a monopoly in the exercise of coercion to provide political order.

It implies such characteristics as relatively unchanging rules of the political game that are recognized by all and inform the behavior of all, the existence of a hegemonic regime as opposed to competitive regimes , governments that function effectively, and physical boundaries that are clearly defined and uncontested. Instability, therefore, is indicated by high levels of social disorder, secessionist pressures, contestation over the form of the regime, high rates of governmental turnover, and governments that cannot decide or, if deciding, cannot implement.


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