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Abstract

This paper presents a comparative perspective on Europeanisation of rural policies in Poland and Hungary. We focus on developments in these two countries in the last decade and situate them in a broader European Union (EU) narrative. This exercise shows that Europeanisation in rural development has been mostly a one-way process of transferring the EU-15 policy models into the post-socialist realm. The policy system has lacked contextual sensitivity and recognition of the significant differences in political and institutional cultures both within the Central and Eastern European countries and between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU Member States. The results are low effectiveness of development aid, coupled with the lack of policy learning and the possibility for gradual improvements of the system. We look here especially at the delivery of LEADER and how its transformation from being an experimental bottom-up innovation into a mainstream delivery mechanism of rural aid has affected its transfer to Hungary and Poland. We conclude with some recommendations for improvements in rural policy delivery and with some research questions to encourage further research.

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