Stephen Whitefield and Robert Rohrschneider "The Europeanization of Political Parties in Central and Eastern Europe? The Impact of EU Entry on Issue Stances, Salience and Programmatic Coherence". Journal of Communist and Transition Studies. Forthcoming, 2009.
The completion of the two wave entry of CEE states in the EU potentially changes the impact of European integration issues on party politics in the region. Membership entails movement from a general aspiration to ‘return to Europe’ to hard costs and specific policy instruments. But are these changes reflected in the Europe-relevant issue stances taken by parties and in the importance parties assign to them in their electoral appeals? Has the relationship of European and integration issues to the broader issue bases of party competition, particularly the most central issue of economic distribution and welfare policies, changed? We address these issues using data from two expert surveys of political parties in the ten new CEE member states conducted just before and just after accession. In line with expectations from comparative party competition literature, our findings suggest little impact of entry on party stances but greater impact on the salience of integration issues.