European Union membership conditionality: the Copenhagen criteria and the quality of democracy
Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea
The European Union has been praised for successfully promoting democracy through its political accession conditionality by incentivizing Central and Eastern European countries to establish stable democratic institutions and improve their human rights practices. However, recent democratic downturns in the region have brought into question the quality and longevity of democracy that the Union promotes. By tracing political developments and progress towards satisfying European Union membership requirements in two countries currently engaged in accession negotiations, Montenegro and Serbia, I find that the European Union’s standards of democracy fall short of requiring stable democratic institutions and long-term successes in producing political systems that respect and protect human rights, the rights of minorities, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. Instead of requiring prospective member states to comply with accession criteria, the European Union is allowing them to progress along the integration path with only partial compliance, weakening its own ability to induce meaningful reforms.
Copenhagen criteria, democratization, European Union enlargement, Montenegro, Serbia
Danijela Dudley. "European Union membership conditionality: the Copenhagen criteria and the quality of democracy" Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea (2020): 525-545. https://doi.org/10.1080/14683857.2020.1805889