Promoting and Safeguarding Democracy: Does the EU matter?


Democracy is one of the founding values of the European Union (EU) and a guiding principle in its external relations. In the course of the Eastern enlargement, the Union emerged as one of the major democracy promoters. However, assaults on democratic institutions in some European countries have undermined the assumption about the transformative power of the Union.

Despite the growing body of literature, research on the impact of the Union lacks a strong comparative dimension and remains largely confined to the study of the effectiveness of the EU sanctions. 

Dr Eli Gateva’s John Fell-funded project challenges how the impact of the Union on democracy has been studied and proposed a novel framework to explore how the EU matters for democracy promotion and safeguarding in EU member states and enlargement countries. 

Drawing on a wide range of sources including original data from interviews, the project will provide the first comprehensive comparative evaluation of the impact of the Union across a diverse set of countries - Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia.