The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy

The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy

The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy

The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy

Synopsis

'Will interest scholars, students and researchers in comparative politics, international relations and European studies.' -KnowEurope'This carefully researched, scholarly written and nicely produced book is a valuable addition to the growing series of Oxford Studies in Democratization and to the literature on the international dimensions of democratization more generally.' -Democratization'The author's command of the subject matter, enriched by insights gained from his 'insider' access that flows from time spent working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, combine to produce a detailed and sophisticated analysis.' -DemocratizationThis book assesses European Union policies aimed at encouraging democratization in East Asia and the Mediterranean, addressing theoretical debates over the international dimensions of political change and the EU's characteristics as an international actor. The factors driving and inhibiting European democracy promotion policies are explored, and the EU's distinctive 'bottom-up' approach to political change is outlined. The book notes an evolution in European policies, while arguing that the EU has failed to develop a fully comprehensive and coherent democracy promotion strategy.

Excerpt

The advancement of democracy through the world in the 1990s was simultaneously remarkable and subject to significant limitations. The thirty transitions that comprised the 'third wave' of democratization between 1974 and 1990 were followed by further incremental democratic enlargement, such that by 2000, 120 out of 193 countries could be formally classified as democratic. Transitions in Indonesia and Nigeria at the end of the decade took the number of people living under democratic regimes to an unprecedented level. However, if such progress engendered a teleological optimism in democracy's propensity to inexorable expansion, events increasingly urged a more balanced perspective. North Africa and the Middle East remained essentially authoritarian and over half of the transitions that were witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa during the early 1990s either atrophied well short of consolidated democracy or slipped back towards autocratic rule. Large parts of Asia remained resolutely immune to democratization and one of the region's largest established democracies, Pakistan, suffered a military coup. Moreover, the quality and robustness of democracy in post-transition states gave cause for much concern. A range of terms emerged to convey the paucity and fragility of these new pluralistic polities, the latter being labelled, variously, as 'restricted', 'delegative', 'low intensity', or 'semi' democracies. In these countries executive power remained overweaning and countervailing institutions ineffective, policy-making was still elite-dominated and invariably lacking in transparency and effective accountability, civil society was weak, political parties either passive or fractious, and the rule of law embedded to only a limited extent. The associated restriction of constitutional liberties had given rise to a generic problem of 'illiberal democracy'. In addition, economic constraints, associated with painful structural adjustment, were held to have deprived large sections of newly

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