EU Democracy Promotion in the Eastern Neighbourhood: One Template, Multiple Approaches

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Series Details Vol.16, Issue 5, December 2011, p607-622
Publication Date December 2011
ISSN 1384-6299
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The article sketches the EU approach to democracy promotion in the eastern neighbourhood, including the six countries involved in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and Russia.

A comparison of the relevant documents reveals that issues of democratic development are much more present in the EU approach towards the six EaP partners than in its dealings with Russia.

The remainder of the article presents a detailed account of EU democracy promotion efforts in Russia and Ukraine. The interactions with Russia in the realm of democracy promotion are found to be superficial and unsystematic, concentrating on individual cases without much depth or consistency.

In the case of Ukraine, the approach is much more holistic, with a variety of aspects of democracy being addressed over time through projects and dialogue, even if these have not had a high priority in EU-Ukraine relations until recently.

There are two key reasons for these differing approaches. First, Ukraine under Yushchenko (January 2005-February 2010) was amenable to democracy promotion offerings from the EU, whereas Russia under both Putin and Medvedev has clearly rejected such efforts.

Second, the perceived importance of the Russian Federation in the energy and security realms has made key EU Member States unwilling to alienate Russian elites by insisting on implementing projects related to democracy promotion.

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