This study investigates Europeanization processes in Central and Eastern Europe (so-called Europeanization East) based on a neo-institutionalist framework. Domestic changes are sought to be explained by means of two main factors, EU conditionality and the facilitating factors in the domestic decision sphere.
A key element of the analysis is an empirical case study of the Slovak Regional Policy in order to identify the ‘real’ drivers behind the change events, be it domestic initiative, the EU or other international actors.
The study reveals that rational institutionalism explains the changes which have occurred and the anomalies fairly well, at least before EU accession, while sociological institutionalism seems to have been more relevant after the end of the accession negotiations in 2002. The latter outcome is particularly significant
as post-accession effects have hardly been investigated before.
The insights offered in this study can be used to design the enlargement conditionality of future enlargement rounds, for example the Balkan countries and for the neighborhood policy of the EU.