13 Sep 2012

The EU’s Promotion of External Democracy: In search of the plot

Anne Wetzel / Jan Orbie

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While the EU has recently upgraded its external democracy promotion policies through a number of different initiatives, there is one challenge that it has not yet addressed: what exactly does it aim to support?

This policy brief illustrates that both the conceptualisation of democracy and the means to achieve it remain vague, and explains why this is problematic. It points out the risks that stem from a lack of clear understanding about how human rights, governance, civil society and socio-economic development relate to democratisation.

Among a number of recommendations, authors Anne Wetzel and Jan Orbie propose a ‘Green Paper’ debate on this topic that would take into account the views of different stakeholders, including those from the target countries, without neglecting existing international standards and agreements.

Anne Wetzel is post-doctoral Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for european Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim. Jan Orbie is Professor at the Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University.

See the related video based on the Public Forum with policy-makers, acadmics and civil society representatives held recently at CEPS.