This paper shows that the dominant theory of European integration, the liberal inter-governmentalism, contains several assumptions about the process and character of national preference formation that may not be fully met in the post-communist EU member states. It argues that the primacy of economic and societal interests in influencing positions of national governments should not be taken for granted. Using Slovakia as an example, it demonstrates the autonomy of political and bureaucratic actors and importance of their preferences. It is also argued that ideational and exogenous factors should not be left out in constructing a realistic framework of national preference formation.

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