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The Europeanisation of Foreign Aid Policy: Slovenia and Latvia 1998-2010
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the early 2000s when several Central and East European countries (CEECs) negotiated their accession to the European Union (EU), they introduced foreign aid policy despite most of them being aid recipient countries at the time. This thesis seeks to explain the evolution of foreign aid policy in two Central and Eastern European countries that took divergent paths in adopting the policy, Slovenia and Latvia. While Slovenia evolved into a relatively active donor country among the CEECs, Latvia’s aid policy developed relatively slowly and aid allocations were smaller.

The thesis approaches this subject from the perspective of the ‘Europeanisation East’ literature that seeks to explain policy adoption in the CEECs in terms of EU influence. The literature is divided on how to explain the policy adoption processes in the CEECs. Rationalists, on the one hand, stress the role played by external incentives, in particular the conditions the EU imposed on the CEECs for them to be admitted to the EU, known as EU conditionality. Rationalists also note the role of domestic veto players who can delay or even stop adoption of the policy if it incurs high adoption costs upon them. Constructivists, on the other hand, explain policy adoption in terms of identification and social influence, policy resonance, or the presence of influential norm entrepreneurs. In an important study, Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier (2005) concluded that most of the policy adoption processes can be explained by the overwhelming influence of EU conditionality, thus downplaying constructivist explanations. This thesis examines whether their finding can be applied to the adoption of foreign aid policy in the preaccession period (1998-2004). It focuses on the role of EU as well as domestic factors in the policy adoption processes. It then explores what factors account for further developments in the policy adoption processes in the period after the CEECs acceded to the EU (2004-2010).

The empirical basis of this study consists of a series of interviews with policy makers and civil society representatives in the two countries. The findings in these interviews have been checked against and triangulated with an encompassing examination of policy documents and archival material. The main findings about the pre-accession period indicate that EU conditionality indeed played an important role in foreign aid policy adoption, but so did identification and social influence. Hence policy adoption costs and the efforts of veto players could not delay policy adoption. In the post-accession period, it is argued here, the further policy adoption processes can largely be explained by identification and social influence. Nevertheless, veto players and adoption costs, as well as policy resonance, did emerge as constraining factors in the policy processes. All in all, the thesis argues that the policy adoption processes can be explained best by a combination of both Constructivist and Rationalist theories and that role of domestic factors should not be neglected in research into EU influence on the new member states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2013. , 300 p.
Statsvetenskapliga institutionens skriftserie, ISSN 0349-0831 ; 2013:5
Keyword [en]
Europeanisation; foreign aid policy; Rationalism; Constructivism; conditionality; identification and social influence; Central and East European countries; Latvia; Slovenia.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80674ISBN: 978-91-7459-716-5OAI: diva2:650904
Public defence
2013-10-18, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal C, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-23 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved

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