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The 'Do-No-Harm' Debate in External Democracy Promotion

Author(s): Franziska Blomberg

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 11;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Western Balkans | European Union | external democracy promotion | ethnic conflict | power sharing

This article analyzes at the neglected debate around the potential negative side effects of the European Union's (EU's) democracy promotion in the ethnically diverse Western Balkan states. Despite significant efforts by the EU to promote democracy, the results frequently lag far behind the goals declared by both the EU and the target states. This investigation examines how ethnicity-widely assumed to be crucially linked to democratic consolidation-has been taken into account in the EU's democracy promotion. EU program documents are analyzed and then contrasted with two case studies from the ethnically diverse Western Balkan states. The findings suggest that, surprisingly, the EU has deliberately risked lagging behind the standard of 'do-no-harm', which has been the declared minimal of EU development cooperation for several decades.
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