published on European Union Politics September 17, 2017
In this article, we investigate the effect of European Commission democracy assistance on democratization in the countries of the Western Balkans. The analysis is based on a comprehensive dataset of the financial assistance given by the European Commission to the region from 1994 to 2010. Since this dataset is disaggregated into different sectors, it allows for the distinction between direct and indirect approaches to democracy promotion. The regression results do not confirm the expected positive association between direct democracy promotion and democratization in the Western Balkans. We contextualize our findings by considering the specific post-conflict context in the region and the European Commission’s conflicting policy objectives in play.