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EU democracy promotion in the neighbourhood: from leverage to governance?

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EU external democracy promotion has traditionally been based on ‘linkage’, i.e. bottom-up support for democratic forces in third countries, and ‘leverage’, i.e. the top-down inducement of political elites towards democratic reforms through political conditionality. The advent of the European Neighbourhood Policy and new forms of association have introduced a new, third model of democracy promotion which rests in functional cooperation between administrations. This article comparatively defines and explicates these three models of external democracy promotion. It argues that while ‘linkage’ has hitherto failed to produce tangible outcomes, and the success of ‘leverage’ has basically been tied to an EU membership perspective, the ‘governance’ model of democracy promotion bears greater potential beyond the circle of candidate countries. In contrast to the two traditional models, however, the governance approach does not tackle the core institutions of the political system as such, but promotes transparency, accountability, and participation at the level of state administration.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Political Science,University of Lucerne, Hirschmattstrasse 25, 6000 Luzern 7, Switzerland 2: Centre for Comparative and International Studies,Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, European Politics, Haldeneggsteig 4, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: August 1, 2011


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