The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism
Chapter 2: Socio-economic transition and social disintegration
This chapter begins the presentation of the special conceptual framework of the ECE region by arguing that historically ECE society had a dual face of Western and Eastern features, with a strong state and weak civil society. The point of departure for the new democracies was a simultaneous transition of legal-political, economic and social transformations, having different time horizons and producing deep conflicts. Originally it was supposed that these transitions would support each other, but the triple crisis – three consecutive crisis periods, consisting of transition crisis (1990s), EU accession crisis (2000s) and global crisis (2010s) – generated an increasing social frustration and democratic malaise in the ECE populations. The failure of the catching-up process has become evident since the global crisis, and it has led to a serious credibility crisis, since the controversial socio-economic development resulted in the weak ‘democratization from above’ described in Chapter 3.
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