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Back | Programme Area: Governance (2000 - 2009)

Economic Policy Making and Parliamentary Accountability in Hungary

This paper by Attila Ágh, Gabriella Ilonszki and András Lánczi examines the process of democratization in Hungary and discusses the fine balance between economic policy making and parliamentary accountability. It also explores the new challenges and opportunities created by the country’s accession to the European Union (EU).

While part I outlines these problems within a theoretical framework and social context, part II offers a more concrete and empirical analysis of these issues. The case study of the Hungarian Parliament is presented as a two-dimensional critique, discussing, first, the internal workings in terms of the activities of the legislators in the various party factions and committees and, second, the Parliament’s institutional environment, or relationship with economic institutions on one hand, and with the government on the other.

An understanding of Hungary’s development is linked to how well the country’s early democratic consolidation is defined and explained. This is related further to understanding the influence of the dual challenges of globalization and Europeanization. These two issues raise questions about the assumed tension between technocracy and democracy, policy making and politics, and the nature of the process of parliamentarization in Central Europe in general and in Hungary in particular.

Accession to the EU raises new standards for policy making and efficiency in Hungary, and it also changes the criteria and process of democratic accountability beyond recognition. The first decade of democratization can thus be seen, in retrospect, as a prelude to Europeanization and EU membership.

Attila Ágh and Gabriella Ilonszki are both at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, Hungary, where Ágh is Professor and Head of the Political Science Department and Ilonszki is the leader of a project on parliamentary elites in the twentieth century. András Lánczi is Head of the Department of Political Science of the Corvinus University of Budapest.
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  • Pub. Date: 1 Dec 2005
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 1020-8186
    From: UNRISD/UN Publications