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Gabriela Belova and Anna Hristova
This paper provides a polemic interpretation of recent Hungarian public-administration reforms compared to the opinions that can be found in international scientific literature. The divergence of the various interpretations stems from the different perspectives on the historic context of the development path of the Hungarian municipal administration during the pre- and post-regime change period. The differences in the interpretation of the achievements of the regime change determine whether one would suggest a minor correction or a total replacement - if given the possibility. After briefly describing the public-administration legacy of the communist past and of the post-communist decades, the article delves into the analysis of the financial unsustainability of the highly decentralized local-government system. The analysis builds on the findings of international financiers that operate as policy- transfer powerhouses, as well. Bursting financial tensions led to Hungary’s loan agreement with the IMF in 1996. Although the loan was paid back by 1998, internal systemic inefficiencies stemming from the uneasy compromises of the regime change still had their corroding effect, although vulnerable finances were veiled by occasional conjunctures in the domestic and international economy. In the year 2008, the country became virtually insolvent and again applied for an IMF loan. The IMF itself formulated certain measures to increase the efficiency of the overdecentralized local-government system. Unlike its predecessor, the government that stepped into power in 2010 had the political power to launch systemic corrections in the local-government system. The reforms contained a trade-off : the majority of local competences in exchange for fiscally consolidating local governments. This is labeled as a trade-off between efficiency and democracy by certain authors. It is a fact that the overdecentralized form of local public administration was inefficient and unsustainable. Now there is an opportunity to test whether an overcentralized public administration would be efficient.
This article discusses the prospects and challenges of energy cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Turkey within the context of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Part of the EaP agenda is to advance energy cooperation between the EU and the partner states, particularly regarding the diversification of import routes. As an energy corridor between the EU and the hydrocarbon-rich Caspian states, Turkey is a strategic asset for European energy security. Turkey also has economic ties and political capital in the Caspian region that can help the EU reach out to its eastern partners. Despite robust incentives for cooperation, however, the EU-Turkey energy partnership has so far failed to meet mutual expectations. This article argues that this is primarily due to the inability of the two actors to credibly commit to regional energy cooperation. Commitment problem stems from two factors. First, the predominance of national energy interests over communal ones undermines credible commitment. The variation in energy needs of Member States prevents the EU from acting in unison in external energy policy. Similarly, Turkey also prioritizes its own energy security, particularly in its relations with suppliers, which undermines cooperation with the EU. Second, the EU and Turkey hold divergent perspectives on the potential political payoffs of energy cooperation. Turkish decision makers are convinced that energy cooperation warrants palpable progress in Turkey’s accession while most EU actors appear hesitant to establish a direct connection between energy and accession.
This comprehensive article provides an overview of the broader process of political, legal and societal changes characterizing the Baltic countries’ convergence towards the European Union. The article aims to identify the specific areas and issues which reveal both similarities and differences between the three Baltic countries. Special focus has been given to issues of economic development, economic policy choices, employment, public opinion and some legal aspects. The article, first of all, tries to reveal the differences between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stemming from different economic policy decisions made by the Baltic countries in the 1990s as well as from to the fact that in 1997-1999 the European Union treated the Baltic countries somewhat differently in terms of conditionality. However, during the 21st century, especially due to the economic recession, the ‘Baltic clocks’ have been synchronized despite the obvious differences in political system and levels of economic development. The author of the current article believes that the main factor behind that development was the convergence to European Union.
Beáta Mikušová Meričková, Andrea Bašteková, Jan Stejskal and Bernard Pekár
Interdisciplinary definitions of corruption perceive corrupt actions as contrary to legal and ethical standards affecting the public interest, perpetrated by a person in public office. The main goal of the study is to identify the factors of corrupt acts in the public sector stemming from the economic, political, cultural and social environments in the Slovak Republic. Through the Delphi method we verify the relevance of economic, political and cultural-social factors of corrupt acts in the public sector defined in the theoretical framework of this issue. The Delphi method was used under the following conditions: the anonymity of experts, feedback control and statistical determination of a consensus of experts. Expert evaluation of the factors underlying corrupt behaviour in the public sector enabled us not only to detect the overall relevance of the factors, but also to identify areas where corruption in the public sector is most widespread, according to experts. We can state that the most problematic areas include the judiciary and the police.
The article studies the problems of human resources stemming from increased mobility, and the emergence of new aspects of migration processes. A comparative analysis of the connection between academic development in the context of university (and the science system) and the process of labour migration taking place in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia was carried out. The article examines the limits of the model through European territorial migration process and concludes that the huge migration of high-skilled labour (called the “knowledge workers”) has had a very negative impact on the innovative and academic potential of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and a negative impact in Estonia. In the final section, the article examines increase in the requirements for competence in the Baltic Sea macroregion of the European Union and Estonia’s university reform of 2013-2016 as an illustrative experiment to (un)resolved problems. The first results of the reform in higher education indicated that it was ineffective-for students, the good ideas of the reform proved to be a lost experiment and the mobility of knowledge workers, as the future academic resource in homeland, turned from Estonia to larger Europe, especially to Finland and the UK.
Arpie G. Balian and Arman Gasparyan
This is a multiple case study that investigates the motivations and ambitions of politicians who run for elections. It uses a mixed research design that applies inductive reasoning in the collection and analysis of data from six communities of rural Armenia. Data-collection instruments include in-depth interviews, focus groups, field observations and community survey. Whereas the study considers various theories of motivation and ambition, the conclusive evidence shows that the attractiveness of office at the local-government level in smaller rural communities is not driven by financial considerations and is rather compelled by the desire to make a difference motivated primarily by personal interest in and dedication to bringing positive change in the quality of life in one’s own community. The study also shows that motivators oft en stem from several other factors, including one’s deep-rooted connection with the community, lineage, length of term in office, record of community satisfaction, resultant personal power built over the years in service and the need to be acclaimed by one’s own community. A derivative closely linked to the priority of building the personal reputation of an incumbent mayor is the resultant power of decision-making. These conclusions can be explained using the model offered by Besley and Ghatak (2005) where politicians view public service as a personal mission. This study connects personal drive to sense of community and ancestral presence. The study also explains why mission accomplishment is more attractive than personal profit-making and how the sense of community and ownership are linked to personal drive.
Maurice Dawson and Pedro Manuel Taveras Nuñez
Many developed countries are placing resources to combat the growing threats in cyberspace, and emerging nations are no different. Since 2016, the Dominican Republic is undergoing massive changes within the current government to prioritize cybersecurity through laws, policies, and doctrine. This initiative is causing politicians, industry, and even government entities such as the national police to start the journey to begin to fully understand what are the issues in cybersecurity as they apply to the nation. It is essential that the security challenges and problems identified are addressed through a process of discovery while mitigating risks. This paper is to present those challenges and offer solutions that can be used to achieve an acceptable level of cyber risk.
Minority rights instruments have been traditionally applied to old minority groups. This paper examines to what extent these same instruments are conceptually meaningful to the integration of new minorities stemming from migration. The conviction that minority groups, irrespective of their being old or new minorities, have some basic common claims that can be subsumed under a common definition does not mean that all minority groups have all the same rights and legitimate claims: some have only minimum rights, while others have or should be granted more substantial rights; some can legitimately put forward certain claims – not enforceable rights – that need to be negotiated with the majority, while others should not. In order to devise a common but differentiated set of rights and obligations for old and new minority groups, it is essential to analyse the differences and similarities of both categories of minorities, their claims, needs, and priorities; in this way, it will be possible to delineate a catalogue of rights that can be demanded by and granted to different minority groups. Studying the interaction between traditional minorities and migrants or old and new minority groups is a rather new task because so far these topics have been studied in isolation from each other. It is also an important task for future research in Europe since many states have established systems for the rights of old minorities but have not as yet developed sound policies for the integration of new minority groups stemming from migration.
– The Case of Hungarians in Transylvania –
The article is a brief evaluation of the regulatory environment of language use in Transylvania, Romania based on Van Parijs’ conceptual toolkit presented in his 2011 book Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World. This linguistic regime is a coercive hybrid regulation containing elements stemming from both the categorical regime (personality principle) and territoriality. In municipalities or counties where the official use of minority languages is permitted, it is typically present in a conjunctive manner, but its enforcement is weak and inconsistent. The principle of territorially coercive linguistic subdivision – proposed by Van Parijs as an optimal solution for a greater linguistic justice – is not accommodated in any of the fields of official communication and under present political circumstances it has no further plausibility. A hypothetical alternative for the territorially coercive regime would be the introduction of English as a lingua franca in interethnic communication. We argued that this latter option would be fair only if English could entirely replace the official languages currently in use or it would receive a fully equivalent status at least in those regions where a considerable number of linguistic minorities live.