From formal adoption to enforcement. Post-accession shifts in EU impact on Hungary in the equality policy field
European Integration Online Papers
Research on EU conditionality in equality policy in Hungary shows that while the formal EU acquis has been transposed in a fast and successful way, its enforcement and application largely lag behind. Most researchers explain this weak enforcement with factors such as state capacity problems, the absence of inclusive policy making, and low norm resonance at the domestic level. This paper analyzes how changes in EU influence in the post-accession, post-conditionality period contribute to maintaining compliance with and improving the enforcement of EU equality policy in Hungary. It aims to understand implementation processes that take place in the post-accession period through the Hungarian case of equality policy. The paper argues that in order to capture the impact of the EU in the post-accession period, one must look beyond formal transposition-related mechanisms and increasingly at financial assistance and social learning mechanisms. While mechanisms connected to formal transposition might suggest major drawbacks in formal compliance, financial assistance and social learning mechanisms seem to address more directly the application and enforcement problems that Hungary faces in the equality realm. The paper shows that these mechanisms directly and indirectly impact the most crucial factors that determine enforcement – state capacity, the strength and involvement of civil society, and norm resonance. A slow but steady move toward sustainable improvement in enforcement is indicated.