The European Union and the Fight Against Discrimination - A Case Study of EU Pressure on Romania
Abstract: The Romanian revolution of 1989 ended a communist era of oppressive leadership exercised by Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. During the 1990s Romania went through a painful transition with increased economic hardship and an unstable political situation. In 1999, the European Union considered the situation of the country stable enough to start membership negotiations. Since the first EU commission report on Romania's application for membership, demands and pressure have continuously been put on the Romanian government to undertake reforms regarding issues of discrimination against Roma, sexual minorities and women. Through an analysis of a chain of events starting with these EU demands, this study explores the phenomenon of EU enlargement effects on the domestic policy-making arena of an accession country. A theoretical framework is applied to conceptually show the causality of EU pressure, the role of civil society, the subsequent response of the Romanian government and finally the outcome of effects on the policy-making structure. Depending on the character of EU demands, the policy-making resources available to the government, the strength of civil society and the extent of changes needed regarding anti-discrimination, the response of the Romanian government has gone from no policy reforms, to defensive radical reforms and finally to offensive radical reforms.
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