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Transgovernmental networks as catalysts for democratic change? EU functional cooperation with Arab authoritarian regimes and socialization of involved state officials into democratic governance

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With the European Neighbourhood Policy, the European Union (EU) intensified functional cooperation in a wide range of sectors. This contribution investigates whether this kind of transnational exchange can trigger subtle processes of democratization. It argues that third state officials become acquainted with democratic governance by participating in transgovernmental policy networks implementing functional cooperation between state administrations of established democracies and authoritarian regimes. In this vein, it enriches the governance model of democracy promotion by adding a new level, the micro-level of democratic socialization. Empirically, the argument is tested taking two Twinning projects that the EU has set up in Morocco, that is, the projects on competition policy and on the environment. The conclusion is that in some non-politicized policy fields, such as the environment, EU transgovernmental policy networks can successfully yield processes of democratic socialization in the context of a stable authoritarian regime, like that in Morocco.
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Keywords: European Neighbourhood Policy; functional cooperation; policy networks; European Union; democratic governance; democratization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Comparative and International Studies (CIS),ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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