The EU’s Unexpected ‘Ideal Neighbour’? The Perplexing Case of Armenia’s Europeanisation

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Series Details Vol.37, No.4, June 2015, p491-507
Publication Date June 2015
ISSN 0703-6337
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The question of why some countries adopt external policy is particularly salient with regard to Armenia. All indicators suggest that Armenia would be unlikely to respond to EU stimuli for reform. And yet, in the early 2010s, Armenia vigorously adopted EU policy and institutional templates. This article seeks to explain this conundrum by exploring how EU policies (especially under the Eastern Partnership) feed into the domestic context and meet the agenda of national elites. The article deliberately departs from the mainstream explanations of ‘Europeanisation beyond accession’ and argues that closer scrutiny of the domestic context is a sine qua non for making sense of the baffling discrepancies in neighbouring states’ responses to EU policies. The case of Armenia vividly demonstrates the imperative for re-assessing the approaches that have so far focused on EU-level factors and for bringing together EU variables with a detailed analysis of the domestic and regional contexts.

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