Legacies and Leverage. EU Political Conditionality and Democracy Promotion in Historical Perspective
Previous studies established strong and robust effects of EU political conditionality on democracy in the neighbouring countries if the EU offers a membership perspective in return for political reform. In this paper, we test these effects against the claim that historical legacies condition the likelihood of successful democratization - and possibly the EU’s political conditionality as well. In a panel study of 36 countries of the Eastern European and Mediterranean neighbourhood of the EU for the years 1988 to 2004, we show that, whereas cultural legacies of religious civilization are indeed conducive to or inhibit democratization and reduce the effects of political conditionality, they do not explain away the EU’s role in promoting democratic consolidation.