The Blown Chance? Czech Political Actors and Strategy Europe 2020

Vit Hlousek

More than a decade after so-called Eastern Enlargement, the political parties, interest groups, and government officials of Central-Eastern European countries demonstrate various degree of Europeanization in terms of socialisation into the political culture of the EU and internalisation of EU policies into domestic agendas. The Czech Republic has been characterized by rather strange combination of rather well-skilled administration professionals and only superficially Europeanised political elite. The paper examines on particular example of reception and implementation of Strategy Europe 2020 the scope and nature of Europeanisation of Czech Government in five selected policy sectors and analyses the extent to which the EU policy goals and norms are accepted by the Czech Government as an integral part of domestic policy agenda. The focus of the paper is on the 'technical' understanding shown by the Czech Republic of the limitations and opportunities that have come with its membership in the EU, on the level of expertise present on matters to do with European integration and EU policies, and on the knowledge evinced of the multilevel structure within which the EU and its member states are organized. Analysed policy domains show that key Czech political actors-parties, interest groups, and even Czech cabinets-have demonstrated significant deficiencies in this area of 'functional' Europeanization.

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