The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion

This international research project concerns the role of the European Union as a democracy promoter and, more specifically, the substance the EU furthers through its external policies. Despite the vast literature on EU democracy promotion, there is hardly any comprehensive and comparative study on the substance the EU furthers. This research project wants to provide the first systematic account of the content of EU democracy promotion.

The project's basic research questions involve:

  • assessing the substance the EU furthers through its democracy promotion activities in third countries
  • comparing the EU's democracy promotion policies in several regions of the world: The new member states, the Neighbourhood, ACP states, Central Asia, Western Balkans and Latin America
  • identifying which factors have an impact on the substance of EU democracy promotion

The project is organised by the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) of Ghent University and Dr. Anne Wetzel from the NCCR Democracy, University of Zurich.

A first meeting on the subject was held in Ghent in April 2010. In June 2010, a first series of papers was presented at the ECPR-conference in Porto, Portugal.

  • Wetzel, A. (2010) 'The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion'
  • De Ridder, E. (2010) 'European accession and democratic consolidation: EU support to developing formal and substantive democracy in Central Europe'
  • Del Biondo, K. (2010) 'The EU as a democracy promoter in Sub-Sahara Africa: Electoral democracy, liberal democracy or democratic governance?'
  • Vasilyan, S. (2010) 'The EU as an impotent democracy-promoter in the South Caucasus'
  • Reynaert, V. (2010) 'Economic liberalization as conflicting strategy for promoting democracy in the Mediterranean: an insight from the EU's financial assistance'

Prof. Dr. Federica Bicchi of the London School of Economics discussed the papers of the panel.

In September 2010, a second series of papers was presented at the UACES-conference in Brugge.

  • Wetzel, A. (2010) 'The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion'
  • Bossuyt, F. (2010) 'EU democracy promotion in Central Asia: pursuit of self-interest in a difficult context?'
  • Del Biondo, K. (2010) 'The EU as a democracy promoter in Sub-Sahara Africa: Electoral democracy, liberal democracy or democratic governance?'
  • Greiçevci, L. (2010) 'The role of the EU and other international institutions (actors) in promoting democratization in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Dayton Peace Accords'
  • Reynaert, V. (2010) 'Economic liberalization as conflicting strategy for promoting democracy in the Mediterranean: an insight from the EU's financial assistance'

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Carbone of the University of Glasgow discussed the papers of the panel.

The next meeting will take place at the EUSA-conference in Boston, USA on 3-5 March 2011.

 

In addition to the project on the substance of EU democracy promotion, the Centre for EU-Studies organises, in cooperation with Dr. Michelle Pace and Dr. Anne Wetzel, a workshop on 'Comparative perspectives on the substance of EU democracy promotion'. This workshop will be held in Ghent on June 24, 2011.

The workshop wil address one or several of the following research questions:


- Is there a particular EU-specific conception of democracy underlying its democracy
 promotion activities?
- How can we characterise the substance that other actors promote in third countries and how does the substance of EU democracy promotion differ compared to other actors?
- Does the substance that EU Member States promote through their national policies
differ from the substance that the EU advances, and if so, how? What factors account
for possible differences?
- How do EU Member States influence the substance of EU democracy promotion?
- How does coordination between the EU and other international democracy promoters shape the content of the EU’s policy (e.g. by sharing the work, hiding behind other actors)?
- Is the substance of EU democracy promotion influenced by policy paradigms that
were developed by other international actors? Can we detect learning processes in EU
institutions that concern the substance of democracy promotion? Is the EU a norm
maker or a norm taker in this regard?

The workshop invites papers that deal with one or several of these questions. More information can be found in the call for proposals.