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Post-accession backsliding and European Union environmental policies

Aron Buzogány and Benedetta Cotta

Post-Communist Economies, 2022, vol. 34, issue 5, 647-665

Abstract: An environmental frontrunner in the Central and Eastern European regions since the late 1990s, Hungary followed a gradual but steady approximation progress to the EU environmental legislation. Previous research established an important role of the participation of economic and societal stakeholders in the decision-making and implementation process based on EU environmental legislation in Hungary. With the victory of the FIDESZ party in the parliamentary elections of 2010, the new government started to change the ‘rules of the game’ by nationalising infrastructures and weakening market access to foreign stakeholders. Focusing on the water and waste management sectors, the article analyzes the stages that brought Hungary to the recent governments’ policy changes. We argue that these changes have departed from the environmental policy practices established during the EU accession process and represent a challenge and a potential backsliding in the implementation of the EU environmental legislation in Hungary. Such changes in policy policies need to be seen in the context of the recent transformation of the political order and of the state–market relations in Hungary.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/14631377.2021.1965361

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