Railway cooperation among V4 states — The role of political spillovers in rail transport integration between the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland, and the Slovak Republic (1999–2021)

Tóth, Bálint László (2023) Railway cooperation among V4 states — The role of political spillovers in rail transport integration between the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Poland, and the Slovak Republic (1999–2021). PhD thesis, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Nemzetközi Kapcsolatok és Politikatudományi Doktori Iskola. DOI https://doi.org/10.14267/phd.2023065

PDF : (dissertation)
PDF : (draft in English)
PDF : (az értekezés tézisei magyar nyelven)


The dissertation analyzes the motivations, directions, means, and limits of railway integration in East Central Europe through identifying and interpreting the European integration’s political spillovers in the Visegrad Group’s transport cooperation. The examination of the V4 cooperation’s transport aspects is the linkage where the dissertation connects to research history in the topic. For an effective policy coordination among the Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovakian governments as well as state authorities, it is important that the lack of institutional elements is compensated for by an international legislative–institutional framework. − It is essential identifying if the European Union, as a legislative–political framework and a financial source, could promote railway policy cooperation among the V4 states. − The dissertation focuses on correlations between Czech–Hungarian–Polish–Slovak intergovernmental railway actions on the one hand, and the communitarian financial/legislative/institutional toolkit triggering such quadripartite projects on the other. Throughout the dissertation, conclusions of the literature review involving regional integration theory papers are supported by quantifiable results of keyword-based content analysis of Visegrad Four official documents as well as statistics retrieved from transport databases. Whereas correlations identified in the examined corpus (the co-occurrence of dependent and independent factors) are confirmed by structured interviews with Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovakian railway transport experts – four professionals from each country. − The accumulation of references in official V4 documents to railway development initiatives largely coincide with those for cohesion policies, in the examined period (1999–2021). Topics related to railroad modernization appear primarily during negotiations on the EU’s multiannual financial frameworks. Railway-related V4 projects and references to EU tools have been mentioned together most commonly from 2014 to 2020, when the four states recorded shares of EU funding for railways beyond EU average. − The majority of the interviewed railway professionals claimed that communitarian financing was necessary for the European integration of national railway networks. Based on the professional experience of most of the respondents, an increased EU funding might result in a higher number of V4 railway development projects. If regional railway development strategies of V4 states do not – fully – comply with EU directives (see e.g., the intention of creating high-speed railway infrastructures, involving FDI from third countries), the spillover effect of the European integration is indirectly identified in the four-party sectoral synergies: instead of deepening the cooperation at EU platforms, the Czech, the Hungarian, the Polish, and the Slovak governments create new structures for joint interest promotion. EU-rooted political spillovers in the Visegrad Four transport integration go beyond the financial impact of communitarian funds. Integrative measures of the Single Market and the European Railway Area spill over onto new forms of policy coordination among the V4 states (see Cram 2001; Martin 1995; Abbott & Snidal 1998): − The creation of new international platforms eventually leads to the gradual elimination of legal and technological barriers between national railway networks (V4 Rail Roundtable, High-level Working Group on Transport Links, Forum of V4 Transport Ministers, Permanent Railway Working Group) − The involvement of state actors is necessary for the EU’s integrative processes to spill over onto further sectoral cooperation in the region (see Moravcsik 2005). V4 governments are lobbying for EU funds to improve their transport networks’ macroeconomic competitiveness.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD thesis)
Supervisor:Kollai István
Subjects:International relations
ID Code:1316
Date:14 December 2023
Deposited On:03 Jul 2023 06:29
Last Modified:18 Dec 2023 14:59

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