Silent Professionalization

EU Integration and the Professional Socialization of Public Officials in Central and Eastern Europe

Published in: European Union Politics, 2016

Posted on RAND.org on January 07, 2016

by Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling, Will Lowe, Christian Van Stolk

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This paper applies theories of international socialization to examine the impact of European Union contact on the professional socialization of public officials in Central and Eastern Europe. Based on a survey of officials in seven new member states, the paper finds that daily work on European Union issues is associated with favourable attitudes towards merit-based civil service governance. The distinction between types of European Union contact shows that officials dealing with 'reception'-related European Union activities such as the transposition and implementation of European Union policies develop more meritocratic attitudes. By contrast, 'projection'-related activities that involve personal contact with European Union officials have no effect. The paper concludes that the small but consistent impact of European Union contact on professional socialization promotes the silent professionalization of public administration in Central and Eastern Europe.

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