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Europeanisation and Internationalisation: The Case of the Czech Republic


This article explores changes in party competition and coalition-building patterns in the Czech Republic that underpinned its twin transition to democracy and a market economy in the 1990s and early 2000s. It charts the domestic political landscape that underlined the Czech Republic's evolution from a communist state to a modernising political economy under relatively benign global and regional conditions. A key objective is to map the new internal political space that led to the deepening of the Czech Republic's integration into the global economy as well as to explain the ways in which internationalisation has transformed that political space over time. Internationalisation relates to the expansion of global markets, institutions and norms, a process that gradually reduces the purely domestic aspects of politics. Although progressively more aspects of domestic life become responsive to external processes, internationalisation does not necessarily imply global convergence (a term closer to 'globalisation'), at least in the short to medium terms, when domestic responses tend to vary across political sectors, institutions and time. We refer to Europeanisation as a process of domestication of European Union (EU) policy directives, recommendations and standards by states acceding to the EU. Our interest is to evaluate the particular response of the Czech Republic, and the sources of that response. In particular, we seek to: (1) identify changes in patterns of party competition; (2) outline the implications of coalitional patterns for policies and outcomes regarding internationalisation more generally, and Europeanisation in particular; and (3) assess the challenges that Czech leaders face in the changed global political and economic environment of the early twenty-first century. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.

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