The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 111–133 | Cite as

Success in slow motion: The Europeanization of Romanian child protection policy

  • Wade JacobyEmail author
  • Gabriel Lataianu
  • Camelia Manuela Lataianu


This paper analyzes the influence of the European Union (EU) through a qualitative case study of child protection policy in Romania. This is a particularly tough case for the growing “Europeanization” literature. Prior research has called attention to several factors that promote Europeanization, including the presence of a pro-reform domestic coalition, the clarity and consistency of the EU’s own legislative targets, a state’s own prior involvement in the setting of European standards, a strong consensus among EU member states backing the European position, and strong non-European support for EU initiatives. According to these propositions, Romanian child protection seemed to provide a worst case scenario for Europeanization, as initially none of these conditions held. And yet the paper shows that substantial Europeanization occurred anyway. We argue that the EU experienced a very slow start with Romania but that it cultivated an opposition that responded to EU initiatives when that opposition took power. Moreover, the EU found three “workarounds” to the obstacles just noted: it asserted legislative targets it did not possess itself, invented new policy tools, and drew protection for its most controversial policy from another international organization, the ECHR. Our central theoretical claim is that external pressure requires internal accommodation in order to have lasting effects. The claim has important implications for the diffusion and conditionality debates.


European Union Conditionality Child protection Romania Enlargement International organizations Social policy 

JEL Classification

F53 J12 J13 



The authors thank Cornel Ban, Gerald Hansen, III and Larry Nelson for comments on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wade Jacoby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriel Lataianu
    • 2
  • Camelia Manuela Lataianu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Estrella Mountain Community CollegeAvondaleUSA

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