2021/ 2022

Veronica Anghel

Mobility Phase: European University Institute | Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Rule of Law or Rule of Norms? Informal Institutions and their Role for Democratic Resilience

Dr. Veronica Anghel is Adjunct Professor of Risk in International Relations and Economy at Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies. She is a Max Weber Post-Doc Fellow at the European University Institute and Editorial Fellow of Government&Opposition. Dr. Anghel held research fellowships at Stanford University (Fulbright), Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies, the Institute for Human Sciences Vienna, the Institute for Central Europe Vienna, the University of Bordeaux and the Institute for Government in Vienna. She received her Ph.D. summa cum laude from the University of Bucharest in co-direction with the University of Bordeaux.  Dr. Anghel worked as a Foreign Affairs Advisor for the Romanian Presidential Administration (2014 – 2015) and a Diplomatic Advisor for the Romanian Senate (2012 – 2014). 

Dr. Anghel provides risk analysis for consultancy outfits on European integration, rule of law issues and party politics in post-communist Europe. Among these, she works for the Economist Intelligence Unit and Oxford Analytica. Dr. Anghel is the recipient of the 2020 “Rising Star” Award of the European Consortium of Political Research.

Rule of law or Rule of Norms? Informal Institutions and their Role for Democratic Resilience

Informal institutions shape regimes, elite decision making and citizen behaviour. The state — in the formal sense — would not work if informal institutions did not exist. Compared to formal institutions, such as parliaments, parties, elections or constitutions, informal institutions are not coded in writing. Nevertheless, constitutions, party charters, party manifestos and electoral rules are not alone in structuring people’s behaviour. Individuals perpetuate unofficial widely known patterns that also organise behaviour. But what is the role of informal institutions in upholding or challenging the rule of law? Identifying them and their effects on the liberal-legal order turns out to be a complicated task that requires interdisciplinary analysis. Lawyers and political scientists investigate informality in complementary ways, tracking with different measures how formal institutions can be transformative in the process of democratization. Surprisingly though, interdisciplinary collaboration on such issues is rare. The aim of my collaboration with the re:constitution network is to confront previous research outcomes on the effects of informal institutions in creating democratic regimes in new EU democracies with the views of colleagues in the legal practice who trace the creation and manipulation of formal institutions from a different point of view. By bringing political scientists and law researchers at the European University Institute in a joint project with rule of law promoters at the Helsinki Committee in Budapest, we can add a new layer of depth into the ongoing comparative research into elite behavior and commitment to formal democratic institutions in the countries of East – Central Europe.