№ 2, 2019
According to many experts, the desire to join the EU has played an important role in the Europeanization and democratization of the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). According to the external incentives model, which has become widespread among the European integration researchers, these countries succeeded in assimilating the liberal democratic norms due to the credible prospect of joining the EU as well as favorable internal circumstances that ensured low domestic costs of implementing relevant reforms.
The studies on the EU 2004 enlargement, which affected mainly CEE countries, confirmed that the credible prospect of entering the EU and low domestic costs indeed contribute to the democratic consolidation of the candidate countries. However, the possible effects of the subsequent enlargement are less clear. Although the EU has not abandoned its enlargement policy, its ability to promote democracy further to the East, including the Western Bal- kan region, is often under question.
The article attempts to determine whether the model of external incentives can explain more complex cases than the CEE countries. On the basis of the comparative analysis of the current situations in the two Western Balkan countries — Croatia, which entered the European Union in 2013, and Serbia, which is a candidate country, T.Rudneva concludes that the model of external incentives retains its explanatory power for these cases. At the same time, her research indicates that due to the high domestic costs of reforms and a lower prospect of joining the EU, the process of EU accession of the Western Balkan countries will be slower and perhaps less successful than it was in the case of CEE, and its Europeanizing and democratizing influence will be more limited.
Main Page ~ Authors ~ Rudneva Tatyana