The EU’s usage of political conditionality for democratization: An assessment for candidates and enp’s southern partners
YILDIZ, Uğur Burç
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This article, by applying the ratings of Freedom House, analyzes the effectiveness of the European Union’s usage of political conditionality for the democratization of the former and current candidate countries, and Southern partner countries in the European Neighborhood Policy. Political conditionality is the European Union’s main strategy to democratize candidate countries. Due to the effectiveness of European Union’s political conditionality all former candidates were labeled by Freedom House as liberal democracies before starting accession negotiations with the European Union. The European Union’s usage of political conditionality with current candidates has led to democratization of many practices, such as the protection of human rights, minority rights and different cultures. This success is mainly the result of the European Union’s membership incentive and, in case of non-compliance, the possibility of high domestic costs for candidates. The European Union has also used political conditionality to democratize its Southern partner countries through its European Neighborhood Policy. However, due to the lack of a membership incentive and domestic costs for these countries, political conditionality has not led to democratization, as clearly shown in Freedom House ratings for these countries since the introduction of the European Neighborhood Policy in 2004.