Challenges to the Effectiveness of EU Human Rights and Democratisation Policies

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Gómez Isa, Felipe
Muñoz Nogal, Ester
Nagore Casas, María
Szoszkiewicz, Łukasz
Wladasch, Katrin
Dai, Wenhai
Lv, Si
Nie, Xiaojing
Zhou, Zirong
Uchuypoma, Diego
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This report is aimed at exploring the effectiveness of EU policies in the field of human rights and democracy promotion against the background of a number of selected case studies. Since the end of the Cold War, the EU has projected itself as a normative power, placing human rights and democratic principles as essential pillars of EU’s identity at both internal and external level. The Lisbon Treaty represents the culmination of a process in which the EU has tried to legally ground human rights and democracy as core goals of its foreign policy. The Lisbon Treaty also made a significant change in the institutional architecture to deal with its foreign policy, namely the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS). It has generated great expectations, but it is still in a process of institutional consolidation. A strong EEAS is a precondition for an effective EU’s human rights and democratization policy. In spite of these significant legal and institutional developments, there are serious concerns about the capacity of the EU to have a significant impact on the democratization processes taking place in different regions of the world. The EU suffers from a delivery gap, an enormous distance between the rhetoric proclamations in Brussels and the impact on the ground of its policies and programmes. This Deliverable is aimed at exploring the effectiveness of EU policies in the field of human rights and democracy promotion against the background of a number of selected case studies. Cases from different regions of the world have been chosen, including Ukraine, Serbia and Albania from Europe, Peru and Bolivia from Latin America, Egypt and Tunisia from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), and China from Asia. The goal is to compare the policies of the EU across the countries and regions to identify best practices and challenges for the EU. There are inherent methodological difficulties associated with the attempt to measure the effectiveness and impact of human rights and democratization policies and programmes. While in the field of development cooperation the EU has developed a long tradition and well-established methodologies to assess the impact and effectiveness of its interventions, that is not the case in the area of human rights and democratization support. The main methodological constraints are the conceptual indeterminacy of the concept of democracy; the problem of attribution; the multidimensional and multi-level character of democratization processes; and the so-called counterfactual, given that one cannot know what would have happened in a given process of democratization without the external support. Taking into account these difficulties, this report has used both quantitative tools (especially the funds allocated to the different countries and programmes) and qualitative methods. The report is primarily based on a desk review of primary (agreements, norms and EU documents) and secondary sources. While academic literature was of utmost importance, the report has also relied on previous evaluations of EU policies and programmes in the field of human rights and democracy promotion. The information was also complemented with semi-structured interviews to EU officials, academics and other stake-holders such as relevant members of both international and local human rights NGOs.