Tackling the growing democratic deficit in Europe – The EU as a force of democratic force in Eastern Europe and Western Balkans

Research Paper by Dawid Aristotelis Fusiek



The analysis demonstrates how the EU could tackle the growing democratic deficit in Western Balkans and Eastern Europe.

Over the last years, the EU has been experiencing a democratic decline, which is especially noticeable in Western Balkan and Eastern Europe. This development puts at risk the EU’s democratic foundations and could contribute to the deterioration of existing internal divisions and external policies, such as enlargement and the Eastern Partnership. Hence, this policy paper examines the manner in which the EU can tackle the increasing democratic backslide while maintaining its unity and well-functioning. First, the paper starts by addressing the important inquiry: Why is it important for the EU to challenge the present democratic backslide? Then, it argues the EU should: a) push for internal reforms to strengthen European institutions and its instruments; b) maintain a decisive and joint stance on Hungary and Poland while avoiding fuelling a general political condemnation against the two states; c) put enlargement high on its agenda and promote of rule of law in its neighbourhood through EU’s new or existing instruments; d) push for a transatlantic and overall common Western approach to promote democratic development in Eastern Europe and Western Balkans.


About the author

Alumnus of the Utrecht University and of University of Piraeus, Dawid Aristotelis Fusiek has an eclectic background in European Affairs, International Relations and History. Over the last years, he has collaborated with various think tanks all over Europe, worked with the European institutions, and has published articles and research papers ranging from EU foreign policy and security studies to political philosophy.

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