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The Politicization of Core-Periphery Relations in the EU

Monday, February 6, 2023, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The De- and Re-Democratization Workgroup of the CEU Democracy Institute cordially invites you to its next Rooftop Seminar.

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Please keep in mind that external guests will not be able to enter the building without prior registration.

In this paper the authors deal with the questions of why and when we can expect change in core-periphery divisions within EU with what consequences on integration. Market integration among heterogeneous economies at different levels of development can have negative developmental externalities. They talk about core-periphery divisions when member states politicize these externalities. Their approach to the why question relies on comparative federalism, to the when question on the political economy of growth models. Their discussion of the consequences of core-periphery divisions combines these two approaches. They argue that the confederal EU polity produces these divisions. The room for politicizing inequalities in integration varies among the different peripheral growth models and so do patterns of economic dependence. The greatest opportunity for transforming core-periphery relations in the EU could come from a symmetric crisis that would bring economic troubles to core and both the Eastern and Southern peripheries simultaneously. EU’s confederal polity is a key constraint to making lasting commitment to mutualizing the developmental externalities of integration.

The paper is available at request from the authors.


Laszlo Bruszt is Co-director of the CEU Democracy Institute, and Professor of Sociology at CEU Department of Political Science. During the regime change in 1989 he served as National Secretary of the newly formed independent trade unions and has represented them in the Roundtable Negotiations. He started to teach at CEU in 1992 and has served as its Acting Rector and President in 1996/97. Between 2004 and 2016 he was teaching at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His publications focus on issues of regime change and economic transformation. His more recent studies deal with the politics of economic integration of the Eastern and Southern peripheries of Europe. 

Visnja Vukov joined the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna in May 2022. She was previously a tenure-track assistant professor at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and a senior researcher at the joint Johns Hopkins University – Pompeu Fabra University Public Policy Center (2016-2022). She also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the European University Institute in Florence (2013-2015). Her research explores how the interaction of European integration and domestic politics shapes economic transformations and growth models in peripheral countries in the EU. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute in Florence (2013) and an MSc in Sociology of the University of Oxford (2007).


Dora Gyorffy is Professor at the Institute of Economics at Corvinus University of Budapest. She holds a BA in Government from Harvard University, an MA and PhD in International Relations and European Studies from the Central European University and a Doctor of Science degree in Economics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She is Chair of the Economics Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on issues of European political economy with a particular focus on the post-communist member states. Her major publications include  Institutional Trust and Economic Policy: Lessons from the history of the euro (CEU Press 2013), Trust and Crisis Management in the European Union (Palgrave 2018); ”The Middle-Income Trap in Central and Eastern Europe in the 2010s: Institutions and divergent growth models” in Comparative European Politics (2022).  


Andreas Schedler is a Senior Research Fellow at the CEU Democracy Institute. He is the Lead Researcher of the De- and Re-Democratization Workgroup and a Visiting Professor at CEU Vienna. Before joining the CEU, he was a professor of political science at the Center for Economic Teaching and Research (cide) in Mexico City. A leading comparative scholar of democracy, democratization, and authoritarianism, he has conducted research on democratic consolidation and transition, authoritarian elections, anti-political-establishment parties, political accountability, and organized violence.