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Milada Vachudova: “Democratization in Post-Communist Europe: Authoritarian Regimes and the Leverage of the European Union”
September 11, 2015 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
This lecture by Milada Vachudova, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is part of the Fall Speaker Series presented by the Center for European Studies at UNC.
European Union (EU) enlargement continues in the western Balkans in the 2010s because the underlying dynamics remain largely unchanged. EU member states still see enlargement as a matter of national interest, bringing long-term economic and geopolitical benefits. The risk of instability in the western Balkans has made the dividends from the EU’s ‘democratizing effect’ especially substantial. Vachudova argues that the enlargement process continues to have a ‘democratizing effect,’ as western Balkans candidates and proto-candidates respond to the incentives of EU membership: political parties have changed their agendas to make them EU-compatible, and governments have implemented policy changes to move forward in the pre-accession process. Yet the EU is taking on candidates with difficult initial conditions. Vachudova explores the changes the EU has made in order to exercise its leverage more effectively in the western Balkans and whether these helped overcome the pre-accession process’ earlier problems with expertise, consistency and legitimacy.