Determinants of civil society influence: the case of international development and humanitarian NGOs in the Czech Republic and Hungary

Balázs Szent-Iványi*, Simon Lightfoot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Accession to the EU has had ambiguous effects on civil society organizations (CSOs) in the East Central European countries. A general observation is that accession has not led to the systematic empowerment of CSOs in terms of growing influence on national policy making. This article investigates the determinants of successful CSO advocacy by looking at international development and humanitarian NGOs (NGDOs) in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Reforms in the past decade in the Czech Republic have created an international development policy largely in line with NGDO interests, while Hungary’s ministry of foreign affairs seems to have been unresponsive to reform demands from civil society. The article argues that there is clear evidence of NGDO influence in the Czech Republic on international development policy, which is because of the fact that Czech NGDOs have been able solve problems of collective actions, while the Hungarian NGDO sector remains fragmented. They also have relatively stronger capacities, can rely on greater public support and can thus present more legitimate demands towards their government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-780
Number of pages20
JournalComparative European Politics
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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Czech Republic
Hungary
civil society
determinants
development policy
ministry of foreign affairs
reform
public support
collective behavior
empowerment
EU
evidence

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in omparative European Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Szent-iványi, B., & Lightfoot, S. (2014). Determinants of civil society influence: the case of international development and humanitarian NGOs in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Comparative European politics is available online at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/cep/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/cep201450a.html

Keywords

  • foreign aid
  • civil society organizations
  • NGDOs
  • development policy
  • new member states
  • EU accession

Cite this

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abstract = "Accession to the EU has had ambiguous effects on civil society organizations (CSOs) in the East Central European countries. A general observation is that accession has not led to the systematic empowerment of CSOs in terms of growing influence on national policy making. This article investigates the determinants of successful CSO advocacy by looking at international development and humanitarian NGOs (NGDOs) in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Reforms in the past decade in the Czech Republic have created an international development policy largely in line with NGDO interests, while Hungary’s ministry of foreign affairs seems to have been unresponsive to reform demands from civil society. The article argues that there is clear evidence of NGDO influence in the Czech Republic on international development policy, which is because of the fact that Czech NGDOs have been able solve problems of collective actions, while the Hungarian NGDO sector remains fragmented. They also have relatively stronger capacities, can rely on greater public support and can thus present more legitimate demands towards their government.",
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