UDC 321.7:316.42(4-11)
Biblid: 0025-8555, 71(2019)
Vol. 71, No 2, pp. 188-214
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP1902188D

Оriginal article
Received: 07 May 2019
Accepted: 13 Jun 2019


DABIĆ Dragana (Autorka je istraživač-pripravnik u Institutu za međunarodnu politiku i privredu, Beograd), ddabic@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs

The main hypothesis of this paper is that when it comes to its member states, the European Union does not possess effective legal and political mechanisms to sanction and/or reverse their democratic backsliding. Emphasis is put on the examples of violations of liberal-democratic norms undertaken by governments in Hungary, Poland and Romania, in order to analyse political will, ability, and legitimacy of the European Union to defend basic values stated in the Founding Act. The aim of the author is to examine the impact of questionable political integration of Eastern European countries in regards to the continuation of the enlargement of the Union in the region of the Western Balkans. It is concluded that due to the pragmatic policy of support to the stabilitocracy regimes and, in general, due to the ambivalent attitude towards the future of enlargement, the European Union could face negative consequences in the coming years. Conceding to candidate countries in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria in exchange for meeting the current geopolitical interests of the European elites (as was the case in some of the earlier EU enlargements) would have following implications for the Union itself: first, internally, casting further doubts on already shaken credibility of the project to build a European identity based on common values; and secondly, externally, the loss of reputation of a normative power that facilitates global relations by spreading its own principles and values.

Keywords: European Union, democratic backsliding, rule of law, illiberal democracy, Article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Western Balkans, stabilitocracy