Democracy's plight in the European Neighbourhood

By Michael Emerson, Richard Youngs (30/10/2009) Book

In recent years many analysts have focused their attention on an apparent ‘backlash’ against democracy and democracy promotion. FRIDE and CEPS have previously cooperated on exploring the general nature of this ‘backlash’. In this volume we turn to a more specific European neighbourhood focus, and explore the general issues relating to democracy’s travails in more detail in the countries to the south and east of the European Union. The underlying question is whether, in an era of democratic pessimism, the European neighbourhood can offer any more optimistic conclusions.

In this context we asked a group of experts -Leila Alieva, Senem Aydin Düzgit, Alexander Bogomolov, Hakim Darbouche, Richard Giragosian, Balazs Jarabik, Kristina Kausch, George Khutsishvili, Elena Klitsounova, Alexander Lytvynenko, Neil J. Melvin, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Gergana Noutcheva, Vesna Pešić, Nicu Popescu, Dina Shehata, Vitali Silicki and Andrew Wilson- to write short essays covering fifteen different case studies from across the neighbourhood region. They assess a common range of questions:  Is democratisation now in retreat, or just stagnating? Do we risk exaggerating the importance of recent setbacks? What is happening to the normative appeal of democracy? How does the financial crisis impact on political trends? How have external democracy promotion efforts evolved and been received? Is international democracy promotion running out of steam? What has been the impact of the slowing of the EU’s enlargement process, alongside the limited scope of its neighbourhood policy?

The book addresses these specific questions in three groups of states. First, those countries in or close to the European Union: Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Second, states of the former Soviet Union: Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus.Third, three Arab states of the southern Mediterranean: Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. 

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Democracy promotion. EU foreign policy.

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.

The President of the Board

FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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