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Ethnic peace from the outside-in? Only with domestic aid. The empowerment of CSOs in the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and the impact on ethnic relations

Number of pages71
Defense date2021-09-02
Abstract

With the “promise of Thessaloniki” in 2003, the European Union paved the way for the countries of the Western Balkan toward membership. The accession process is framed by the strategy of political conditionality, according to which candidate countries must meet criteria in various areas in order to advance. However, the policy changes often remain formal reforms that do not necessarily translate into substantial improvements. The presence of an active domestic civil sector is a key factor in fostering the implementation of EU-induced reforms. Civil society organizations (CSOs) can do this inter alia by advocating for change, supplying information, or acting as local watchdogs. This research explores the empowerment of civil society through the EU accession process and takes the policy area of inter-ethnic relations as example to analyze their impact. Based on both document analysis and interviews with key players on the ground, the findings show a rather disillusioning picture: both the empowerment of CSOs through the EU accession process and their impact on inter-ethnic relations is limited. The domestic political context is identified as common cause for the shortcomings of both variables.

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Citation (ISO format)
STEIGER, Valeria Valentina. Ethnic peace from the outside-in? Only with domestic aid. The empowerment of CSOs in the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and the impact on ethnic relations. 2021.
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Master thesis
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  • PID : unige:158299
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