Anne Wetzel, Jan Orbie
With Map and Compass on Narrow Paths and through Shallow Waters: Discovering the Substance of EU Democracy Promotion

European Foreign Affairs Review, 2011: 16, issue 5, p. 705–725
ISSN: 1384-6299

This article presents the conclusions that we have drawn from the contributions to the special issue on the substance of EU democracy promotion. The main findings of the articles are summarized in a table that includes values for the components of the embedded democracy framework across the various countries and regions that were examined. Although some variation can be discerned within the embedded democracy framework and across the different countries and regions, the EU's policies remain firmly entrenched within the notion of embedded liberal democracy. In addition, three common observations on the substance of EU democracy promotion can be discerned: (1) the focus on elections has been more limited than expected, (2) the EU has largely focused on the external context conditions, and (3) the links between the latter and the partial regimes of democracy are under-specified. Thus, while the EU's democracy promotion policies suggest that one model suits all, it is not assumed that one size should fit all. More generally, it appears that EU democracy promotion sits uneasily between a 'narrow' and 'shallow' agenda, which can be explained by different factors. At the same time, it reflects the internal democratic condition of the EU.