Chapter 8 ECE regional politics and the increasing core–periphery divide
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Since the global crisis, the core–periphery divide has deepened in the EU between the most developed core countries and the ECE countries, which has been most manifest in the deep violations of the rule of law by Poland and Hungary. The ‘Copenhagen dilemma’ emerged in the EU because after the accession the EU had no legal tools to correct the divergence from democracy in ECE. As the increasing conflicts have demonstrated, the legal toolkits – the infringement process and the Article 7 procedure – have not been effective in enforcing the rule of law in ECE. The refugee crisis has increased the regionalization process in ECE, but at the heavy price of confrontation with EU mainstream developments. It is a big challenge both for the next EU leadership to solve this problem of divergence in ECE and for the ECE governments to comply with EU rules and values.

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