Kristi Raik

Address: Dr. Kristi Raik
Council of the European Union
General Secretariat
Directorate General for External and Politico-Military Affairs
Telephone: 00-32-2-281 44 27


Promoting Democracy in the Eastern Neighbourhood: In search for a responsive and effective EU strategy

Along with the Eastern enlargement of the European Union that took effect in May 2004, the fate of the new Eastern neighbours acquired unprecedented significance for the Union. The EU responded to the new challenges in the East by launching the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Democracy promotion, which became a major priority of EU foreign policy in the 1990s, was identified as a key area of the ENP. The research project addressed the specific challenges faced by the EU in promoting the democratisation of its Eastern neighbours. Among different aspects of democratisation, the project paid special attention to the development of civil society in the neighbouring countries and the EU’s efforts to support this essential element of democracy. The research covered the whole region of Eastern neighbourhood, but focused in particular on two cases: Ukraine and Belarus. These two neighbouring countries represented two extremes with respect to democratisation in the region, Ukraine being the most successful “democratiser” in the aftermath of the so-called Orange Revolution of late 2004, and Belarus developing into an increasingly tight authoritarian regime. In order to study the local conditions and meet local experts, activists and policy makers, the author spent two months (April-May 2005) in Ukraine and made two visits to Belarus (during the presidential elections in March 2006 and in April 2006). The research provided analysis of the main obstacles and difficulties on the way of the development of democracy and especially civil society in the Eastern neighbourhood. In light of this analysis, it critically assessed the EU’s policies aimed at alleviating the difficulties and bringing the neighbours closer to European standards of democracy. In several publications, the author aimed to provide not just a better understanding and awareness of the complex topic, but also concrete policy proposals with a view to contributing to a more effective EU strategy of democracy promotion in the Eastern neighbourhood.






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