Caught between stability and democracy in the Western Balkans: a comparative analysis of paths of accession to the European Union
Gafuri, Adea and Müftüler-Baç, Meltem (2020) Caught between stability and democracy in the Western Balkans: a comparative analysis of paths of accession to the European Union. East European Politics . ISSN 2159-9165 (Print) 2159-9173 (Online) Published Online First http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21599165.2020.1781094
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21599165.2020.1781094
The Western Balkans have been on the path of European Union accession, officially since 2003. The European Union invested heavily in the region to stabilise and democratise these countries and prepare them for eventual EU accession. This paper proposes that the EU-with its democracy aid and progress on accession stages acted as an external actor that- unexpectedly legitimised the political regimes despite their apparent backsliding. To better assess whether the EU played a role in democratic backsliding, and if so to what extent, the paper takes upon two case studies - Serbia and North Macedonia. The paper aims to enhance our understanding of democracy promotion, the EU's role as an external actor both in terms of its legitimisation role and democracy assistance in furthering democratic reforms in third countries.
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