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“Democratization in Post-Communist Europe: Authoritarian Regimes and the Leverage of the European Union” CES Friday Lecture with Prof. Milada Vachudova, UNC-CH
September 11, 2015 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
EU enlargement continues in the Western Balkans in the 2010s because the underlying dynamics remain largely unchanged: EU Member States still see enlargement as a matter of national interest, bringing long-term economic and geopolitical benefits. The risk of instability in the Western Balkans has made the dividends from the EU’s ‘democratizing effect’ especially substantial. I argue that the enlargement process continues to have a ‘democratizing effect,’ as Western Balkans candidates and proto-candidates respond to the incentives of EU membership: political parties have changed their agendas to make them EU-compatible, and governments have implemented policy changes to move forward in the pre-accession process. Yet the EU is taking on candidates with difficult initial conditions. I explore the changes the EU has made in order to exercise its leverage more effectively in the Western Balkans and check whether these helped overcome the preaccession process’ earlier problems with expertise, consistency and legitimacy.
Acknowledgement of Support: This event has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this event are the sole responsibility of The UNC Center for European Studies and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.