in: Democratization 21 (5), 912-936
This contribution studies the process of building an EU member state through democracy promotion in the case of Croatia with a special focus on two reform initiatives in the field of Public Administration Reform (PAR). Croatia’s experience is representative of intense efforts of the international community to overcome the consequences of violent state dissolution and civil war. The EU in particular has assisted post-conflict democratization with diplomatic initiatives, the provision of aid, and political conditionality. The Croatian political elite showed great willingness to implement democratic reforms, while at the same time remaining critical of what they viewed as ‘too much’ external interference in domestic state affairs. Based on 30 interviews with Croatian officials, Croatian civil society actors, members of the EU delegation and other representatives of the international donor community, we empirically assess progress and setbacks in Croatia’s public administration reform and explain why some reform initiatives have been successfully implemented while others are still pending.