From Democracy Digest.
Democracy assistance is failing to adapt to the shifting dynamics of global politics evident in recent reports from such varied sources as Freedom House, the Varieties of Democracies project and The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Democracy Index (above), analysts suggest.
The European Union’s approach to democracy support in particular is not working with the grain of overarching political trends anymore; rather, it has to operate in a context of more active resistance against such efforts, according to Ken Godfrey, executive director of the European Partnership for Democracy, and Richard Youngs, an expert on EU foreign policy.
The EU’s generic focus on civil-society support has intensified and the EU has increased its support to the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), which can operate in environments that prove complex with classic aid cooperation methods. But despite many policy improvements, in the round the evidence does not point to the EU taking a strong stand for democracy on any sort of consistent basis, notably its consensus-based preference for conflict-avoidance, they write for Carnegie Europe:
While the positive justification for such gentle, cooperative approaches may sometimes be convincing, in many cases it is difficult to see how it generates any kind of reform traction. The cooperative strategy of democracy aid does not always serve as an alternative to punitive measures. In many of the cases where the EU has decided not to invoke democracy-related sanctions, it has also held back from funding political aid projects. EU support to civil society in Russia is a negligible €7 million ($7.8 million)—EIDHR [European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights] funds are ten times oversubscribed in Russia, suggesting that Russian civil society does want EU support.
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