EU as a promoter of democracy or ‘stabilitocracy’ in the Western Balkans?

Starting from August 2021, the Think for Europe Network (TEN) commenced its work on the research project “the EU as a promoter of democracy or ‘stabilitocracy’ in the Western Balkans?”. This project is implemented in partnership with the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’.

Through its enlargement policies the EU tries to foster democratisation in the Western Balkan region. Now that further reforms in a number of countries only progress slowly or seem even deadlocked, more and more attention is being paid to the negative side-effects of EU policies. The literature on EU enlargement notes that, in spite of their democratic objectives, EU strategies and policies unintentionally contribute to the formation of so-called stabilitocracies in the region: countries with obvious democratic shortcomings that at the same time claim to provide pro-EU stability.

The research project focuses on the six countries of the Western Balkans. For each country, it assesses how flaws in the EU’s enlargement policies as identified in the literature play out in practice by offering a reflection on the applicability of the theoretical framework for the specific country, underpinned by an assessment of a number of case studies.

The project will be carried out throughout 2021 and will culminate in a Clingendael report in English with 6 contributions from TEN partners, one for each country of the Western Balkan Six.

This project is financed by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

TEN members are organisations recognised for their achievements in the field of public policy research and their experience and capacities in terms of advocacy:

European Policy Centre (CEP) from Belgrade
Institut Alternative (IA) from Podgorica
European Policy Institute (EPI) from Skopje
Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) from Tirana
Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) from Pristina
Foreign Policy Initiative BH (FPI) from Sarajevo

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