The European Union's Authoritarian Equilibrium

Forthcoming in Journal of European Public Policy

Rutgers Law School Research Paper

21 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by R. Daniel Kelemen

R. Daniel Kelemen

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School; University of Pennsylvania Law School - Student/Alumni/Adjunct

Date Written: September 8, 2019

Abstract

While the European Union (EU) professes a commitment to liberal democracy, in recent years it has allowed some member governments to backslide toward competitive authoritarianism. The EU has become trapped in an “authoritarian equilibrium” underpinned by three factors. First, the EU’s half-baked system of party politics and its ingrained reluctance to interfere in the domestic politics of its member states help shield national autocrats from EU intervention. Second, funding and investment from the EU helps sustain these regimes. Third, the free movement of persons in the EU facilitates the exit of dissatisfied citizens, which depletes the opposition and generates remittances, thereby helping these regimes endure. While more fully developed democratic federations have the capacity to eventually steer autocratic member states back toward democracy, the EU appears to be stuck in an autocracy trap.

Keywords: European Union, Authoritarianism, Democratic Backsliding, Hungary

Suggested Citation

Kelemen, R. D., The European Union's Authoritarian Equilibrium (September 8, 2019). Forthcoming in Journal of European Public Policy, Rutgers Law School Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3450716 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3450716

R. D. Kelemen (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

89 George St.
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States

University of Pennsylvania Law School - Student/Alumni/Adjunct ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

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