Trust in the Political Elite of the New Member States. The Divergence between East-Central Europe and the Baltic States

Attila Ágh

In the last Quarter-Century there has been a process of "Roll-back in Europeanization" in the New Member States that has been intensified due to the global crisis and it has become a significant part of the general "polycrisis" in the EU. In the last decade the NMS political elites have made a steady effort for "the unity of powers" instead of separation of powers. It has appeared as the shrinking control over the executive power by the legal processes of judicial and legislative powers and/or by the socio-political process of decreasing public participation. Basically, the paper investigates this process on the database of World Economic Forum (WEF) after the global crisis (2008-2015) with its special indicators of (1) diversion of public funds, (2) public trust of politicians, (3) favouritism in decisions of government officials and (4) transparency of government policymaking.In the early 2010s it was already clear that some years after the outbreak of the global crisis due to the mismanagement of the crisis the NMS political elites suffered a further loss of their credibility. It was discussed by the analysts as "The financial crisis and diminishing systemic trust in Europe's periphery". The process has continued in the 2010s while the divergence between the East-Central European (ECE) and Baltic developments has also become more marked. The Baltic States in general - with their individual specificities - have produced much more resilience to the crisis than the ECE states. The paper will conclude with the evaluation of the GRECO and OGP organizations about the NMS political elites in general and the ECE vs the Baltic elites in particular.

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