30 Oct 2009

Democracy’s Plight in the European Neighbourhood

Struggling transitions and proliferating dynasties

Richard Youngs / Michael Emerson

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Is international democracy promotion in the European neighbourhood running out of steam, after the disappointing results from the ‘colour revolutions’ in Georgia and Ukraine of 2004-2005? What is the changing impact of factors such as corrupt state capture, energy resources, rent-seeking behaviour, the financial crisis and the perceived threat of radical Islam on democratisation in the region? Research into these questions, among others, and what certain analysts describe as a ‘democracy backlash’ was conducted in three groups of states: countries in or near the EU; former Soviet Union states and three Arab states of the Southern Mediterranean. The results show a parting of the ways between on the one hand the EU’s European neighbours (other than Russia), which are seen to be ‘struggling transitions’ aiming at the European model of democracy, but with serious failings still to be overcome; and on the other hand Russia and the states of Central Asia and North Africa where there is no tendency towards democracy but rather a contrary trend of ‘proliferating dynasties’. This new paperback: Democracy’s Plight is the result of that research, edited by Michael Emerson of CEPS and Richard Youngs of FRIDE, Madrid.