Power beyond conditionality: European organisations and the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia

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The article addresses the power of three international organisations, the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU) and the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) regarding the Hungarian minority policies of Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. It is argued that most of the academic literature within the field misses the point when relying on a rather limited conceptualisation of power as something which one actor uses to get another actor to do what it otherwise would not have done. Using a broader conceptualistion of power, including the power to interpret norms and their application, leads to a better understanding of the roles of the CoE and the HCNM. Analysing the three organisations' approaches to the Hungarian minority education policy in Romania and Slovakia, as well as the Hungarian Status Law, reveals how the CoE and the HCNM interpreted norms of national minority policy and their application to the addressed policies. These interpretations shaped EU policy on the subject, and Romania, Slovakia and Hungary had to take the EU policy seriously due to their desire to join the EU. The three organisations engaged in an exchange of power, in which the CoE and the OSCE High Commissioner bestowed legitimacy on the EU, which in return could provide them with increased leverage over the accession states. Journal of International Relations and Development (2011) 14, 440-468. doi:10.1057/jird.2011.1; published online 22 July 2011


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Sidor (från-till)440-468
TidskriftJournal of International Relations and Development
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 2011
Peer review utfördJa