Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects
Edited by Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker
Chapter 7: Competition in policy and institutional transfer: the EU and Russia in the ‘contested neighbourhood’
This chapter conceptualizes the ‘contested neighbourhood’ (namely the countries located between the European Union and Russia) as a transfer theatre involving both macro-frameworks of integration initiated by external actors and micro-processes (understood as interactions at the sectoral level between actors on the ground, institutional structures, policy practices) that shape local responses to external stimuli. The chapter is based upon a comparison between three countries (Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine), focusing on the case of food safety standards. It offers an in-depth analysis of how actors and policy levels interact in the transfer theatre. It looks at both powerful external actors (the EU and Russia) that offer macro-integration frameworks, and local actors who respond to external stimuli. In particular, the chapter seeks to explain the disjuncture observed between the frontstage (the engagement with external actors’ macro-integration projects) and the backstage (micro-dynamics of policy transfer at the sectoral level) of the transfer theater. It argues that the micro-dynamics of policy transfer (such as EU sector-specific conditionality, domestic governments’ preferences and post-Soviet informal practices) permeate the macro-context (defined as the engagement in EU- or Russia-driven frameworks of integration) and thereby contribute to determining the way in which the transfer unfolds. Yet the process is not unidirectional. Both the broader geopolitical transfer context and external actors’ transfer mechanisms also affect agents on the ground and thereby shape the way in which policy ideas, models, methods and tools travel to post-Soviet countries. Keywords: European Union, Russia, post-Soviet space, geopolitical competition, informal practices
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