Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

European Neighbourhood Policy in Armenia: On the Road to Failure or Success?

Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

European Neighbourhood Policy in Armenia: On the Road to Failure or Success?

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

No matter how fuzzy and inconsistent the European Union's (EU) foreign policy may be, it achieved considerable success with its enlargements of 2004 and 2007 (1). The attractiveness of the EU's incentives and the leverage of its political conditionality enabled the EU to promote democracy to the then candidate countries. Encouraged by this achievement, the EU developed a further norms promotion policy in the image of the enlargement one (2); although it does not entail a membership incentive. The "newest democratization tool" (3), the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), targets the EU's near and not-so-near neighbourhood and aims to promote specific economic, political and security-related policies in partner countries. The partner countries vary widely in geographic location and degree of democratization, and include countries as diverse as Israel, Ukraine, and Morocco. Despite this variety, the EU is optimistic about the ENP's impact on the target countries (4). The empirical purpose of this paper is to analyze the potential effectiveness of the ENP in democracy promotion in post-communist countries by focusing on the case of Armenia.

This paper examines two specific aspects of ENP democracy promotion: what the strategies of the ENP democracy promotion are; and whether these strategies correspond to current analytical frameworks of effective democracy promotion. The paper applies an innovative theoretical framework of international socialization developed by Schimmelfennig et al (5). International socialization is defined as "a process that is directed toward a state's internalization of the constitutive beliefs and practices institutionalized in its international environment" (6). Given this definition, international socialization can be viewed as an approach to study democracy promotion, thus addressing the atheoretical character of democracy promotion studies (7).

Schimmelfennig and his collaborators have developed a theoretical framework that specifies potential outcomes of interaction of sets of international and domestic conditions. This paper analyzes the strategies of democracy promotion of the ENP--i.e., international conditions--and identifies domestic conditions to assess whether they are conducive to successful internalization of democratic norms. The theoretical purpose of this paper is to test the applicability of this framework to democracy promotion studies. While Schimmelfennig et al have conducted ex-post studies of democracy promotion, this paper examines an ex-ante case of democracy promotion case in order to assess the predictive power of the framework.

Armenia, which is a post-communist state, is going through a rapid economic development and provides control for the economic development variable (8), which is often missing from democracy promotion studies (9). It is a useful case because although it is a long-time target of extensive investment by democracy promoters, little research has been conducted on that matter. This paper adopts a qualitative research method and identifies the strategies of the ENP by analysing Strategy Papers, Country Reports, Commission Proposals, Action Plans, and Progress Reports and other documents of the EU. To identify the domestic conditions in Armenia and classify them according to the theoretical framework, the study traces the domestic political and economic situation at time of the ENP enforcement, analyzes statements by the state officials, and examines international reports for a balanced assessment of the country's political situation.

The empirical result of the study shows that ENP is unlikely to be effective in promoting democracy because it does not employ necessary strategies of democracy promotion given current domestic conditions of Armenia. The study also shows that the framework developed by Schimmelfennig and collaborators can be successfully applied to democracy promotion studies. The paper is organized as follows. …

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