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Democratisation in south-eastern Europe through integration into the EU: Formalism or meaningful differentiation?Anna PlachkovaDemocratisation in south-eastern Europe through integration into the EU

Anna Plachkova

SEER Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern Europe, 2018, vol. 21, issue 1, 31-50

Abstract: This article presents an analysis of democratisation in countries of south-eastern Europe in the context of EU membership. After a brief theoretical overview of the EU’s capacity for democratisation, the article highlights the increased attention that researchers have paid to the quality of democracy and, in particular, to the rule of law as key mechanisms guaranteeing the successful functioning of representative democracy. The purpose of the article is to find empirical evidence for whether the EU has learned lessons from the accession of Bulgaria and Romania that can apply in its relations with candidate countries from the western Balkans regarding democratisation. The research objective is the interaction between the EU and candidate countries, realised through the main instrument of pre-accession conditionality - the annual reports of the European Commission which are used to monitor and evaluate the progress of each applicant towards meeting EU membership criteria. The author concludes that this leads the Commission to a constancy of approach but which leaves aside the issue of the specificity of candidate countries.

Date: 2018
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