The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion

This international research project concerns the role of the European Union as a democracy promoter and, more specifically, the substance the EU furthers through its external policies. Despite the vast literature on EU democracy promotion, there is hardly any comprehensive and comparative study on the substance the EU furthers. This research project wants to provide the first systematic account of the content of EU democracy promotion.

The project's basic research questions involve:

  • assessing the substance the EU furthers through its democracy promotion activities in third countries
  • comparing the EU's democracy promotion policies in several regions of the world: The new member states, the Neighbourhood, ACP states, Central Asia, Western Balkans and Latin America
  • identifying which factors have an impact on the substance of EU democracy promotion

The project is organised by the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) of Ghent University in collaboration with Dr. Anne Wetzel.

In 2010-2011 a series of papers was presented on several international conferences.

A special issue of the European Foreign Affairs Review on the substance of EU Democracy Promotion was published in 2011.

Moreover, the Centre for EU-Studies organised a workshop on 'Comparative perspectives on the substance of EU democracy promotion', in cooperation with Dr. Anne Wetzel and Dr. Michelle Pace. This workshop was held in Ghent on June 24, 2011 and was financed by the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), the British International Studies Association (BISA), the Department of Political Sciences and International Studies (POLSIS) of the University of Birmingham and the Centre for EU-Studies of Ghent University.

This project was deepened and expanded thanks to the support of the European Commission. In the framework of a Jean Monnet Information and Research Activity on the substance of EU international democracy promotion, called 'EU-iPodS', a series of academic and public events on the topic was organized in 2011-2012. Key staff for this activity were Jan Orbie, Anne Wetzel, Fabienne Bossuyt, Vicky Reynaert and Eline De Ridder. More information on the website or via