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The European Union and democratization in Central and Southeastern Europe since 1989

Sedelmeier, Ulrich ORCID: 0000-0001-6963-4296 (2019) The European Union and democratization in Central and Southeastern Europe since 1989. In: Ramet, Sabrina and Hassenstab, Christine, (eds.) Central and Southeast European Politics Since 1989. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 539-562. ISBN 9781108499910

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A central tool of the European Union (EU) to promote the democratization of post-communist Europe have been the conditions it has attached to the offer of accession. Yet EU’s influence varies across countries, and over time between the periods before and after accession. A key factor limiting the EU’s democratizing impact are domestic costs of complying with the EU’s conditionality: the more governments rely on illiberal and undemocratic means to maintain power, the less influence the EU has. Moreover, even if the domestic adjustment costs are not prohibitively high, for EU conditionality to bring about, or lock in democratic change, the positive and negative incentives relating to the benefits of EU membership have to be credible. The limited credibility of sanctions against backsliding in new members and of the reward of accession for current candidate countries in Southeastern Europe is a key explanation for the setback in the EU’s democratizing role during this decade.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 15:15
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 07:06

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