The Enlargement of the European Union: A ‘Risky’ Form of Democracy Promotion

Laurence Whitehead

in The International Dimensions of Democratization

Second edition

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199243754
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600333 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 The Enlargement of the European Union: A ‘Risky’ Form of Democracy Promotion

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Discusses EU enlargement, which constitutes a major, but seriously under‐theorized, component of the post‐Cold War drive for ‘democracy promotion’ into areas of the world that were until recently not organized into liberal–democratic regimes. It focuses on the EU's proposed ‘eastwards’ expansion agreed at the 1999 Helsinki summit, which will have far‐reaching consequences, not only for the internal balance and working of the EU but also for the prospects of democratization and democratic consolidation in eastern and south‐eastern Europe. Viewed as a ‘democracy promotion’ initiative, the EU's Helsinki commitment is a high‐risk venture. The argument presented in this chapter is not that it is bound to fail, or that the decision was a mistake, but that the consequences are complex and uncertain, and that it could easily carry high costs to the EU as a whole—and to the cause of democracy promotion more generally—as well as high potential benefits.

Keywords: democratization; enlargement; European Union

Chapter.  11561 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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