Is European Democracy Promotion on the Wane?

CEPS Working Document No. 292

20 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009

See all articles by Richard Youngs

Richard Youngs

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Date Written: May 9, 2008


The EU routinely asserts that the promotion of democracy and human rights is central to its international identity. However, while in some places the EU has a relatively strong record as a supporter of democratic values, it is failing to respond effectively to the emergence of a vastly more challenging environment for democracy promotion. This paper reveals serious limits across three strands of democracy policy - the magnitude of incentives offered in return for democratic change, the degree of critical pressure exerted for democratic reform and the scale of European democracy funding. Even where the EU is building on the initiatives it has pursued for the last two decades, the paper demonstrates that these policies fail to measure up to the challenges posed by the new international context.

Keywords: European security policy

Suggested Citation

Youngs, Richard, Is European Democracy Promotion on the Wane? (May 9, 2008). CEPS Working Document No. 292, Available at SSRN: or

Richard Youngs (Contact Author)

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000

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