- Enforcing consensus? The hidden bias in EU democracy promotion in Central and Eastern Europe
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Democracy is a primary export norm of the European Union (EU). It has also played a key role in the conditionalities that have governed the accession processes of new member states in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The EU has often been accused of offering little guidance regarding the specifics of desirable democracy models and the means of their consolidation. But are these accusations justified? In the first part of this article a detailed examination of European Commission opinions and reports reveals that it has consistently promoted a specific model of democracy in future member states. It shows a strong bias in favour of Lijphart's model of consensus democracy, which is indiscriminately advocated for prospective member states. The second part of the article draws attention to the serious obstacles which exist in the region to the realization of this model. We question the wisdom of the Commission's one-size-fits-all democratic model given these obstacles and the real-life diversity of political contexts in the region.
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