Central European University und Ungarn’s illiberale Drift

Interview mit Nina Niebergall, Deutsche Welle, 5.4.2017

Am 4.4.2017 beschloss das ungarische Parlament eine Änderung des Hochschulbildungsgesetzes, die die in Ungarn existierenden Hochschulen aus Nicht-EWR-Staaten dazu verpflichtet,  an ihren ausländischen Standorten einen eigenen Campus zu errichten und darauf beschränkt, in Europa akkreditierte Studiengänge anzubieten. Außerdem sollen diese Hochschulen nur auf der Grundlage eines bilateralen zwischenstaatlichen Vertrages in Ungarn tätig werden dürfen.

read more

A Reflective Power?

Foreign-Policy Positioning in Germany’s Electoral Campaign

Berlin TV Tower

Opening lecture at the Center for International Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, 28 March 2017

Surrounded by global and European uncertainties, Germany is expecting federal legislative elections on 24 September 2017. European integration, the transatlantic alliance and the cooperation with Russia have been bedrocks of Germany’s foreign policy and its official international identity as a “reflective power” (Frank-Walter Steinmeier). All three fundaments are now subject to eroding forces or unprecedented political challenges. External turbulences interact with domestic tendencies of popular concern and distrust regarding the governing political elites and their European crisis management capacities.

read more

Core Executives in Central Europe

Forthc. in: Handbook of East European Politics, ed. by P. Kopecký and A. Fagan, London: Routledge

Download paper: Brusis_CoreExecutive

Core executives have become increasingly important political actors and arenas due to several interlinked developments affecting both states and societies. Modernisation has weakened the ties between political parties and voters, making parties more dependent on state resources and, in particular, access to government. Since the political process has become more dominated by media communication, political controversy tends to be framed between chief executives and rival political leaders. Global economic integration has narrowed the policy discretion of nation states and fostered the spread of non-majoritarian institutions entrusted with regulatory functions. These trends have been associated with the growing weight of policy output as a source of legitimacy, in contrast to “input legitimacy” derived from democratic elections. Among the three branches of state power, executives control most of the tools available to influence policy outputs and the interventions of both domestic and international regulatory agencies. The crisis and politicisation of European integration have further enhanced the salience of national (chief) executives compared to national legislatures and supranational institutions. As a result, many of the choices characterising politics and policymaking are now made or shaped at the centres of executives.

read more

Trump’s Foreign Policy, Russia and the Balkans

An interview with Aleksandra Nenadović, Voice of America, 9 November 2016http://pescanik.net/corax-2-2/Drawn by Corax for the Serbian daily Danas

What does the electoral victory of Donald Trump mean for US foreign policy in the Balkans? Any prediction is fraught with high uncertainties because no one knows the extent to which Trump’s populist demagoguery from the electoral campaign will become official US policy.

However, many observers concur that American foreign policy will be more inward-looking and realist. The realist notion of a balance of power would resonate with the ideas of Russia as a great power and a new Jalta-order shared by Russia’s current political leadership. A balance-of-power orientation would imply conceding zones of influence to other great powers and deemphasizing concerns for universalist ideas such as democracy or political freedoms.

read more

Serbia between EU/NATO and Russia

An interview with Aleksandra Nenadović, Voice of America.

Nikolai’ Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, met with Serbia’s President, Prime Minister and other ministers in Belgrade on 25/26 October 2016. The official aim of this visit was to discuss the security situation and options for a military-technical cooperation between Serbia and Russia. Patrushev also proposed a memorandum of understanding on a security cooperation between Serbia and Russia.

The visit coincided with the news that Montenegrin and Serbian police arrested two groups of Serbian citizens who are suspected of preparing a coup against the government of Montenegro.  Montenegro’s decision to join NATO has become a major controversy between the government and several opposition parties. Following a series of mass protests, the opposition alliance “Democratic Front” (Demokratski Front, DF) tried to frame the parliamentary elections of 16 October 2016 as a vote against the NATO membership of Montenegro. The government has claimed that Russia was financing and supporting the DF. Details from the ongoing investigations against the suspected coup-plotters indicate an involvement of Russian actors.

read more

BTI 2018 Kick-Off and Concept Paper

On 12/13 September the core group behind the Transformation Index (BTI) met at Bertelsmann Stiftung’s always impressive Gütersloh headquarters to prepare the new survey wave.

bertelsmann_stiftung
Swans’ view of the Foundation’s headquarters

BTI is a global expert survey on the quality of democracy, market economy and governance, now in its eighth edition (!) scheduled for publication in 2018. Questionnaires will be sent to country experts at the end of October. The submission of country reports will trigger off an elaborate procedure of reviewing, revising, calibrating, editing and lesson-drawing, keeping us busy throughout the next year.

read more

Zur Umsetzung der Minsker Abkommen

Ein Interview zur aktuellen Lage in der Ukraine und zum Treffen der Trilateralen Kontaktgruppe, ARD Tagesschau 24

03.08.2016 11:52 Uhr

Geht es in der Ukraine voran? Reformen in Justiz, bessere Korruptionsbekämpfung, eine bessere Wirtschaftslage geben aus Sicht von Martin Brusis von der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Grund zur Hoffnung. Sorge bereiten ihm unter anderem die Kämpfe im Osten des Landes.

Minsker_Abkommen

Die Minsker Abkommen scheinen gescheitert, die Zivilbevölkerung im Osten der Ukraine ist in Gefahr, aber es gibt auch Hoffnungsschimmer für das Land – so schätzt zumindest Martin Brusis von der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München im Gespräch mit tagesschau24 die Situation in der Ukraine ein.

read more

Democracies Adrift

How the European Crises Affect East-Central Europe, in: Problems of Post-Communism, 63 (5), September 2016

The present article proposes to study and compare the state of democracy in East-Central European countries. Such a comparative survey is deemed timely because there have been electoral landslides, corruption scandals involving political leaders and mass protests in several of these countries. Popular satisfaction with democracy has declined and democratic accountability institutions have been eroded in Hungary and Poland. These developments pose questions about where these democracies are heading and how their paths are related to the crisis of European integration.

read more

Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation

A workshop with Belgrade Open School staff, 16-18 May 2016

To upgrade their research capacity, think tanks need access to methodological and conceptual tools that have recently been developed by researchers in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. My three-day workshop with Belgrade Open School provided an overview on rationalist and institutionalist approaches of policy analysis, focusing on examples from Europeanization studies. Notions of causation and strategies to deal with confounding causes formed the basis of our discussion on evaluation methods. The workshop also included an introduction to regression and factor analysis, two key tools of empirical policy research.

read more

Politics and Religion in Eastern Europe

An interview with Magda Crișan, Romanian TV program Digi24, 11 May 2016

Political elites in East European countries have often referred to religious beliefs or sought to form alliances with church leaders. One aim of their efforts has been to convince citizens and the public that they share common values and are committed to act ethically responsibly.

Putin_KyrillMore frequent references and appeals to shared religious beliefs in recent years reflect the growth of right-wing populism, uncertainties caused by the crisis of European integration and fears regarding the inflow of predominantly Muslim refugees. The extent to which religious references are made in political discourses also varies according to the strength of religious allegiances and the respective influence of churches in societies. Contemporary resonance structures are rooted in state identities and the influences of historical state-building coalitions with churches.

read more