Modern Democracy Assistance in the Bilateral Relations between Brussels and Baku


Europe is historically associated with the roots of democracy. The European countries are also considered to have assisted democratisation for other countries, where the governance model is autocratic. As a consequence, the European Community tends to be a successful democracy promoter in its regions. The conditionality instrument represents community values in the field of modern state-building. The predominantly unilateral negotiation process refers to the EU leverages to demand a complex democratic transformation in exchange for some economic and accessibility gains through Accession Partnership programmes. Brussels has completed two significant eastward enlargements to unite citizens of the post-soviet era to Western fellows in 2004 and 2007. The adoption of democracy becomes eminent in making CEE candidates acceptable to the community values and rules. In recent times, CEE States such as Poland and Hungary demonstrate an opposite understanding of political future than the EU has maintained before and are its driving principles by the Copenhagen 1993 criteria for candidate countries. There is concern regarding the quality of democracy, human rights violation and rule of law. I investigate the EU transformative influence in the cooperation between Brussels and the Azerbaijani regime after the examination of CEE performance. Independent Azerbaijan effectively applies the concept of bargaining power that highly challenges the EU conditionality instrument about human rights and democracy promotion ‘DHR’ in the bilateral relationship. Ultimately, the cooperation questions whether the economic factor is crucial in the European success of democratisation.

Chapter 1

Theoretical Discussion: European Values and Conditionality Approach in Modern Democratic Consolidation



I conduct the theoretical proposition to prove that notwithstanding the numerously criticised outcomes of conditionality instrument policy, the EU processes the most effective promotion of democracy in a global perspective that shows effective achievement to turn the autocratic state model into a democratic one. In the first chapter, I discuss the fundamental conditions of democracy and the democratisation process including thoughts from Robert Alan Dahl (1956) and Joseph Schumpeter (1943). Then, I elaborate Seymour Martin Lipset’s (1959) claim on whether modernisation, dynamic capitalisation and globalisation are ascendancies for democracy development. I explore the issue by juxta positioning autocratic regimes with the democratic governance model. There is a highlight on the issue of state capture from Maarten Lemstra (2020). Ultimately, I show a debate regarding EU bureaucracy, the opacity of human rights in the ‘acquis’, whether the creditability of the EU conditionality approach is questionable referring to some challenges with the Central and Eastern Europe ‘CEE’ countries in the post-communist era. The Social Identity Theory ‘SIT’ aims to answer the common values and origins between state members in the EU.

The second chapter presents the debate about Brussels’ performance in the promotion of democracy with the Azerbaijani case study. I examine the Baku regime’s governance profile and its obstacles in the perspective of democratic consolidation. The issue of corruption and its consequences are significant in understanding the criticism of the state. I apply Ernst Haas’ theory of neo-functionalism (1958) to discuss how economic shared-interest may lead to shared-values in political integration which is a non-oil based partnership between the two actors. The EU-Azerbaijan relation highlights some deficiency in the competence of conditionality instruments that elucidate the quality of success in Brussels’ external and transformative influence about democracy and human rights ‘DHR’. In due course, Van Gils (2019) applies the bargaining power term to ascertain that Baku has excellent assets and flexibility to negotiate with Brussels for a favourable outcome. At the same time, the cooperation tends to prioritise the interest in energy supply rather than political democratisation, which improves the legitimacy of the autocratic state profile in Azerbaijan.

Fundamental Understanding of Democracy and Democratisation

To begin with, I introduce the fundamental understanding of democracy and its contemporary conditions. Democracy as a word is subjected to much definitional analysis, but it has simply been described as a concept that “resonates in people's minds and springs from their lips as they struggle for freedom and a better way of life” (Schmitter & Karl, 1991: 75). Democracy is imperfect, but it aims to verify that there is no better alternative model of governance. Historical evidence shows that Continental European powers practised several alternatives to democracy in the 19th and 20th century with a catastrophic outcome for human dignities (Rose, 2009:11) such as the First World War and the Second World War (Mosse, 1986: 491-513). In modern conditions, the spectrum of democracy is more complex compared to its earlier stages. Crick outlines a few aspects to ascertain whether or not a state governance model is democratic. They are the rule of inhabitants, official doctrine, typical social structure, nature of the elite, particular institution of the government, type of economy, theories of property, attitudes to law, attitudes to knowledge and diffusion of information and political norms (2002:99).

Democratic governance represents three key characteristics in an institutional and social sense traditionally (Crick, 2002:92). They are Joseph Schumpeter’s electoral right, Robert Alan Dahl’s political liberty and Guillermo Alberto O’Donnell’s rule of law inquiries (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:42-3). In the foregoing analysis, the term democracy is explained with the help of its characteristics. The focus of this discussion is to examine how democracy and democratisation manifest in the political society.

Where democracy is undermined, the term democratisation aims to improve the quality of democracy by replacing the despotic state model with a democratic one (Grugel and Bishop, 2014: 89, 345-6). It is important to note that the term ‘democratisation’ means something different to democracy because it refers to a process or approach that is specifically related to post-conflict democracy assistance based on the belief that democratic governance, “provided by periodic and genuine elections offers the most effective recourse for resolving social tensions” in a post conflict society or a society emerging from a despotic governance model (Lappin, 2010: 183). Democratisation can be understood in three dimensions: franchise, scope and authenticity. The franchise refers to the inclusion of different groups of people who can participate in everyday life politics. (Dryzek, 2000: 86,113).

Democratic consolidation can develop the quality of democracy even for a democratic system (Bernhagen, 2009:25). There are two participators of democratic vitality: civil society and the state (Dryzek, 2000:114). Therefore, the transition process from an autocracy to a democracy requires citizenship and state institutional contributions. There is an initiation of a more active, diverse and democratic civil society where tolerance is salient (Grugel and Bishop, 2014: 89, 345-6). Dryzek explains that civil society is the initiator of democracy appeal, and thus it is an oppositional player to the state.

Jensen and Skaaning (2012) emphasise the power of civil society, while Grugel and Bishop emphasise on the transformative state for its ability to identify the capacity of national goals and human rights (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:89, 345-6). As Dryzek says, a democratic society strives to improve democracy rather than maintain it. Joseph Schumpeter claims that democratic state assures free competition in a free election (Rose, 2009: 10-3). Another notable attribute is the multi-level political participation where democracy is introduced. Robert Dahl ascertains five features of democratic practices: voting equality, enlightened understanding, control over the agenda, voting inclusion and effective participation (Rose, 2009:27; Peters and Tatham, 2016:6-8). As such, a core characteristic of democracy is the genuine political participation of people. Therefore, the EU is interested in a modern and democratic state participator in bilateral relations. A candidate state needs to sustain a rule of law and free election format to maintain the market economy and bureaucracy structure to secure smooth EU rules and regulations (Rose, 2009:10-3). O’Donnell and Schmitter (1986) argue that the democratic transition has two phases. The first is the initiation of liberalisation against the authoritarian regime. As a result, political liberty improves freedom of speech and association. The second phase is an actual political movement in a democratic direction. The process establishes institutions and rights such as suffrage and party elections (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:129).

There are various levels of living in a fundamentally democratic system. The experience of quality classifies different democratic standards. There are contemporary critics that liberal democratic states fail to secure the quality and value of democracy in the 21st century. Parvin (2018) argues that modern democracy has a significant decline in civic participation that undermines the freedom of choice. The poverty and socio-economic inequalities exclude non-wealthy citizens from practising democracy and enable elite communities to engage with politics (Parvin, 2018:31-52).

Modernisation, Modern Democracy and Capitalism

The modernisation theory considers the term democratisation with the notion of globalisation. The spread of democracy seeks for openness to interconnect traditional and modern societiesThe modernity and the liberal enlightenment idea are ideas related to the contemporary state in Western interpretation (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:75-6). Whereas Adam Przeoworski and Fernando Limongi assert that modernisation can improve democracy only for existing democratic systems, Carles Boix and Susan Stokes debate that the process can initiate transition in emerging or undemocratic systems as well (Welzel, 2009:81, Møller and Skaaning, 2013:101).

Crick suggests that the modern interpretation of democracy includes economic progress alongside the three conventional characteristics (Crick, 2002:92). I, therefore, examine the worldly factor in building democracy as well. Grugel and Bishop (2014) explicate that modernity initiated a social transition from feudalism to capitalism, manifested in the materialistic progress of the 19th and 20th centuries. The capitalistic character is understood, as an indisputable participatory projection in contemporary democracy. The capitalistic market economy reduces societal class conflicts by improving income growth and higher educational achievement. Economic security strengthens the middle class. Thereby, democracy needs a certain type of political culture to be present, as the structuralist view does say. The traditional society may struggle for modernity and, as an outcome, for democracy (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:77-9, 87, 340).

Thus, economic modernisation and political democracy are interrelating terms according to Seymour Martin Lipset’s (1959) argument. Modernisation helps to influence human beliefs and values in favour of democracy. The human condition is crucial in society. Cultural motivation helps to desire democratic freedom, while economic empowerment supports the human capacity to act. The institutional condition enables civilians to achieve a state of democracy (Welzel and Inglehart, 2009:140-1). By extension of this argument, a wealthy state is more likely to sustain the state of democracy on the strength of its socio-economic condition (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:102).

However, there is dissonance regarding the role of globalised capitalism in the way how we experience contemporary democracy. Modernity creates an undemocratic state structure in countries like China, Vietnam, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Consequently, principles such as worldwide consumption, materialistic understanding of the world, global communication and economic wealth cannot explicitly solve the struggle for the democratic and liberal order. The capitalistic order can contradict the cause of democracy, and globalisation is recognisable, as a misused tool in this context (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:340-5).

Presence of Autocracy

The antithesis of democracy is autocracy. Whereas democratic governments show responsible political pluralism, modern autocratic types elude it (Linz and Stepan, 1996:44). An autocratic state is the opponent of liberalisation and democratic consolidation (Bernhagen, 2009:25). For instance, the criteria of democratic governance highlight that a non-democratic regime fails when society understands the truth about its state governance, notwithstanding regime propaganda. The lack of societal participation in state governance refers to the regime's autocratic identity (Crick, 2002:99). Modern autocratic regimes can be classified as authoritarian, totalitarian, post-totalitarian and ‘sultanism’ models of governance (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:45-6).

There are several drawbacks of an autocratic regime operation. In this research, I highlight the issue of corruption, as a burning poser for the EU conditionality politics later in this paper as well. There is a strong relationship between autocracy and state corruption. Lemstra (2020) introduces the state capture term. The Clingendael Policy Briefs shows that the state capture is a significant difficulty for integration in the EU’s 'acquis' perspective. The ‘acquis’ represents the common rights and obligations for all members, and it sets expectation criteria for new candidates and accession states (Lemstra, 2020:7). The autocratic governance format attempts to challenge the accession criteria.

The competency of the state, its rationale and culture of secrecy are highly problematic (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:209). State capture implements the abuse and monopolisation of power through the clientelism network. That generates a conflict between public welfare and particularistic interest. The abuse of state resources directly conflicts with the European Union’s one fundamental principle: the rule of law. Brussels projects liberal democracy in the ‘acquis’, which requires an equitable use of governmental power. For instance, the leading political party of the state has monopole access to governmental power and resources in several countries in Western Balkan and South Caucasus. The State Capture immensely concerns the membership or accession for a receiver country (Lemstra, 2020:2-7).

Autocratic regimes can survive only by oppressing the majority of oppositional citizens. However, World Values Survey (2005) explains that autocracy can claim legitimacy from the public perspective. The civil society’s weak belief can produce authority for non-democratic governance over liberal freedom even if citizens are unsatisfied with the ruling regime. Wherefore, there is a limitation on democracy in favour of other and more prioritised goals. The public can condemn democracy with low emancipative values, and they are more likely to accept negotiations for an autocratic state model to be democratic (Welzel and Inglehart, 2009:136). Consistently, the mass belief decides to tolerate or reject a regime’s legitimacy. For instance, the Russian Revolution was based on the belief that revolution takes place when oppressed part of the society refuses to live with the ruling class in the old way (Pinder, 1997:150).

The Theory of Institutional Learning suggests that society members accept the value of democracy when they are participators of democratic institutional life (Welzel and Inglehart, 2009:136). Modernisation appears as a driver to influence human intrinsic values to appeal for democracy from a civil perspective (Welzel and Inglehart, 2009:131).

European Community and Its Conditionality Instrument

Continental Europe’s political system is a democratic type of regime (Lijphart, 1977:6-7). The fragmentation of political culture shows that there is a mutual dependence of parties and groups. Therefore, the European political system is based on plural society and can be understood in the immobilism term (Lijphart, 1977:6-7). There is a close bond between the idea of democracy and traditional European values. Todorov and Anzalone (2005) expound that Europe claims human rights invention and liberal democracy. These core ideas appear in two pillars: the power of people and freedom of the person. The first has a regularity limitation, as an individual struggle for power can conflict with political legitimacy in a democratic governance model (Todorov and Anzalone, 2005:16). There is an argument that liberal democracy finds it easier to settle in western society because of the emphasis on individualism. The idea of liberal western philosophy and Christianity are part of the individualistic way of living compared to the Asian democracy model for instance (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:349).

In modern times, the EU represents the early Western civilisation ideas in certain politically democratic values rather than a united state culture or power culture (Todorov and Anzalone, 2005:16-22). Western European human development is unique by the various introduced ideas, such as individual liberty, political democracy, cultural freedom, rule of law and human rights. These practices commenced modernisation and distinguished the civilisation from others such as African, Asian and Middle Eastern civilisations (Huntington, 1996:35). Modern ideas transform nations at the primitive stage into a more progressive society. The progress appears in social mobilisation, industrialisation, urbanisation, the volume of literacy, education, occupational structures and prosperity (Huntington, 1996:29).

I apply the Western institutional perspective to the EU position. Zeeuw and Kumar (2006) introduce the idea of democracy assistance to post-conflict societies from the Western developed institutional perspective. The international support implements more democratic standards of elections and provides humanitarian and development programs. There are two premises. First, the new institutionalisation process aims to do sustainable development and produces step-changes in national policies. Second, the reform is comprehensive, which covers political, economic and social sectors. The aim is to establish a new approach to the relationship between the citizenry and governmental authority. For example, there is a healing of social divisions and macroeconomic policy for local entrepreneurship with property rights. Another concern is the security sector. For instance, the command economy transforms into a free market enterprise. Then, the authoritarian system turns into open political order (Zeeuw and Kumar, 2006:1-7). The EU occupies the domain in external relations, which connects it to domestic policy-making through trade and aid assistance more significantly than it’s been for Member States in the West before. The EU is the key external driver for policy reforms eastwards (Grabbe, 1993:1-21).

However, there is criticism of performance in the ploy as to how Brussels attempts to integrate non-Western institutional states. Copenhagen 1993 sets modern democratic standards for accession and candidate countries. These conditions are the stable institutional network to maintain the fundamental principles of democracy, the market economy and its forces within the Union, and the obligation of membership (Grabbe, 2004:73-8). The EU integration process starts trade agreements to association towards accession. Brussels offers institutions such as The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe ‘CSCE’ and the Council of Europe to have a share of the European system. The free trade agreement attempts to mitigate nationalist conflicts and protectionist politics in opposition to democratisation in the Central Eastern Europe region ‘CEE’ (Pinder, 1997:124). The EU asserts that constitutional democracy is the most secure option to establish a rule of law and representative government for peaceful transition (Pinder, 1997:113).

Concomitantly, the eastward enlargement shows the issue of delay with association with post-communist history. CEE is not part of the community at the beginning of the post-Soviet era. The eastern block experienced a separate development until tighter partnership programmes were established with Brussels. There is no political responsibility and preparedness to process the enlargement earlier than later after 1989 (Grabbe, 1993:29).

Conditionality instrument is the tool adopted by the EU to “induce behavioural adaptation as an instrumentally and strategically calculated reaction by the target countries’ government in response to external incentives” for the purpose of democracy promotion (Freyburg & Richter, 2010: 267). The Conditionality Instrument has negative and positive aspects for the third country. The receiving state benefits from trade, aid, cooperation agreement and political contacts (Grabbe, 1999:3-5). The 1993 negotiation aims to protect member states and reassures that CEE is politically stable in the foreseeable future for the EU system. The EU policies and regulatory models are not suitable for democratic transition countries because the accession and development goals are different. The Accession Partnership ‘AP’ 1998 is a more narrowed conditionality rather than a flexible and negotiable approach. AP rationales are not clear and direct enough to sustain a modern state model for receiving countries (Grabbe, 1993:1-21).

AP shows the extended EU influence over the policymaking process in joining state’s domestic policies. There are additional demands to meet Schengen and monetary union. The substantive section of criteria is the economic reforms in the areas of pension, social security, civil service in an administration capacity and corporate governance. The EU gains a better involvement in the applicant countries’ foreign policy regarding their eastern neighbours. AP represents some clarity in economic perspective such as neo-liberal understanding about privatisation, reduction of state involvement, absence of social network power for fair and professional competition and means of exchange, which are the characteristics of market economy (Grabbe, 1993:20-1). The socio-economic system prefers the ‘Atlantic’ rather than Rhenish and Latin aspirations. The ideology of anti-interventionism plays an important role, but there are some regulative policies to prevent the abuse of corporate governance.

AP is the main instrument to manage the EU-CEE relation and fortifies legally Copenhagen conditions as well. It leaves an impact on CEE policymaking. The EU is a hegemonic actor compared to CEE, and it implements unilateral measures. There is a sharp difference between member and joint states. The CEE complies with all obligation risks of the membership, the accession criteria are prominently stricter than other joined members in the past, and the EU has more grounds for interference in domestic policies (Grabbe, 1993:16-24). In parallel, CEE’s interest is marginalised. The new set conditionality excludes a large consideration of joining states’ views. Brussels aims to make candidate states acceptable to the community, and there is not reciprocal assistance to CEE. The realist approach would say that the EU gains the advantage through power politics (Grabbe, 1993:34).

On the other hand, there are some explanations of the weak strategy from the CEE. Firstly, CEE failed to capitalise on its bargaining power. Apart from Poland, the state's domestic politics should have questioned more critically the rigid demand from the EU. Poland addressed more conditionality to Brussels than others. Secondly, there is a problematic gap between foreign and domestic policy in CEE at the beginning of the post-soviet era. The ruling elite is not fully competent to comprehend APs conditions, there is a high presence of technocracy, and simultaneously the ruling elite is interested in personal accession to Western Europe. Thirdly, the CEE policymakers focus on quantitative targets rather than qualitative ones. The EU stands for an ideal and accurate model of democracy and economic order. The community norms tend to dictate the fashion of standards for CEE. The US model is less inspirational at the same time. Consequently, CEE faces a decline of sovereignty during the enlargement process with the EU (Grabbe, 1993:34-6).

Central Eastern Europe and the Hypothesis

It can be argued that EU technocracy conflicts with policy goals and the mitigation of undemocratic practices in CEE. John Stuart Mill argues that the crossroad is difficult between bureaucracy and democracy (Held, 2006:84), whereas Max Weber claims that there is no better method to rationally form a state model and its administration (Held, 2006:138). Brussels has a clear limit of transformative influence in CEE. It fails to demonstrate a clear projection of required standards. The technical legislation of treaties rules out effective political and social reforms. Some policies concern transparency and accountability. The EU’s acquis lacks detailed issues such as cronyism, media freedom, minority rights and relationship development with neighbours. Brussels demonstrates diverse approaches to CEE members in key policy challenges. The double standard issue makes it impossible to measure the quality of democracy (Grabbe, 2004:73-8).

Lijphart argues that a state with a pluralistic society but elite cooperation can adopt consociational democracy in his ‘Explorative Comparison’ (Lijphart, 1977). The pluralistic democracy is based on the role of law and market economy. The criteria show that the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are pluralistic democracies (Whitehead, 1997:48). The EU demonstrates a ‘conditionality’ approach to impose accession or prospective partnership countries. The democracy promotion strategy compromises several benefits for the exchange of shared values and rules within the Union. The largest accession is the membership by full internal access to the market. The EU can indirectly influence non-state actors in favour of liberal democratic values against the participators of the old autocratic system (Lemstra, 2020:1-7; Alieva, 2014:39–48; Yilmaz, 2009:98-9). There are two ways to do s, which are accountability and transparency for domestic policies (Lemstra, 2020:1-7).

The issue of ‘ongoing process’ informs that there is no clear benchmark wherefrom the democratic transition can terminate. It would rather suggest that the composition of democratic and non-democratic organ constantly changes (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:345-6). Thus, today CEE demonstrates the path of ‘consolidated democracies’ (Haerpfer, 2009:314). Wolchik and Curry (2008) describe that CEE is part of the European institution community, yet they are not thoroughly European (4). Whereas there is a liberal market economy, rule of law and democratic institution structure, several regions continue experiencing difficulties by the post-communist legacy, the intensifying populist right-wing politics and incorrect party ties to the state (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:200; Wolchik and Curry, 2008:4). The state identity is markedly different in Eastern Europe compared to the Western part (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:211). Post-communist countries are less wealthy than the original members, and there is sharp inequality in social welfare (Wolchik and Curry, 2008:4). The democracy assistance missed bringing anticipated prosperity for new members (Wolchik and Curry, 2008:371). In a historical context, CEE dismissed the significant experience of economic recovery after WW II. There was partial support from the USSR but, there was a complete absence of global trade and investment vehicles. The region retained a marginalised role in the global economy until the collapse of the Soviet Union (Linden, 2008:130-1).

There is another point of view regarding the appearance of democracy in CEE. Juan Linz (1996) focuses on the quality of democracy via the understanding of Post-Communist Europe in a geopolitical and philosophical context; he outlines three recourses. First of all, some countries will never achieve consolidation in democracy. Second of all, others may temporarily achieve it, but they will lose the quality of democracy or go further to 'autocratisation' later on. Lastly, some states accomplish consolidated democracy without deepening it in areas such as gender equality, access to essential social services, inclusive citizenship, protection of human rights and freedom of speech. Instead, the abuse of human rights may appear intermittently (Linz, 1996:457).

A concerning example is Poland, which is the case of illiberalism (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:200). Illiberalism refers to a condition of elected government by popularity but, with deficiency concerning the rule of law and liberty (Bernhagen, 2009:37). In Poland, the state refuses the fundamental membership policies (Wolchik and Curry, 2008:371). There is absence of independence of judiciary, and corruption in public appointments and civil rights issues. The national elite abuse the accession reforms to establish its hegemony at institutional levels. They cover the misleading transition by the liberal democracy implementation (Bustikova & Guasti, 2017). Then there are other countries like Slovakia that apply a narrowed neo-liberal marketisation approach that concerns the quality of democracy ultimately (Grugel and Bishop, 2014:200). Meanwhile, Møller and Skaaning (2013) identify polyarchy notion in the EU countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania.

Robert Dahl (1956) explains the polyarchy theory that perfect democracy is elusive. The academician debates C. Wright Mills’ argument (1956) of ‘The Power Elite’. Whereas Mills believes that the power is accessible for a limited number of elite alliances rather than ordinary citizens, polyarchy would submit the counterargument that those ordinary participators enable to exercise the power in a formed group structure such as civil society. The issue is that people as individuals, are powerless, which distinguish the polyarchy from the fundamental belief of democracy. The group-based power secures less rule of law compared to liberal democracy (Meanwhile, Møller and Skaaning, 2013:43-4).

Democratisation has internal and external dimensions. External pressure has limitations to the dissemination of minimalist democracy, whereas, comprehensive democracy can grow within an internal frame. EU eastern enlargement 2004 and 2007 are the only internationally successful influence in democracy assistance through the AP process (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:152-3). The EU tends to be a successful and international democracy promoter since the collapse of the Soviet Union, whereas the US fails in Central America, Sub-Saharan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria in nation transformations (Yilmaz, 2009:99). The EU operates from two leverages: passive and active. The first is the general attractiveness of membership in the Union. The second is the direct negotiation process for economic and political reforms(Møller and Skaaning, 2013:152-3). International influence aims to stimulate democratisation as external pressure on national development (Whitehead, 1997:42). The EU is a justified example of external pressure in new democracy transition through the accession negotiation process in developing countries (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:153-4).

Social Identity Theory, Integration Challenges and Criticism of EU Conditionality Instrument

The issue of disparity would concern the complexity of EU conditionality successes between Western and Eastern Europe (Yilmaz, 2009:98-9). In this context, the democratic consolidation could succeed in countries, which had been near to path of EU membership. For instance, Poland Hungary, and the Czech Republic exhibited a full sense of democracy before entering the EU negotiation process (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:152). Linden (2008) points out ‘the logic of consequence’ which is explained as a guide to 'analysis-based' action where alternatives are considered, outcomes are assessed and calculated choices are made (2008:143). The CEE states found that there best interest was served in the membership in the post-Soviet era for survival. These countries joined the Council of Europe, NATO and the EU for a practical reason, which was primarily the reason of security (Linden, 2008:129). Herein, the EU could utilise its passive leverage to attract CEE. On the other hand, Whitehead (1997) highlights the role of the West in emerging democracy in post-communist Europe (1997:42). The Western counterpart had a psychological reason to make CEE acceptable, which isunity. It assimilated with the Eastern part, which could result in a solidary enlargement and healing of the European division eastwards (Yilmaz, 2009:98-9; Linden, 2008:129).

Curley (2009) applies the Social Identity theory ‘SIT’ to interpret the national ability of a non-member country to join the European governance model. There are two understandings of EU enlargement policies, which are rational and constructive understandings. Whereas rationalism produces an examination of cost-benefit analyses regarding accession, the constructivist logic says that state identity defines its interest in receiving country. SIT suggests that individual member states consider mutual acting when the group identity is salient. Therefore, national and European identity plays a significant role in the decision of new member inclusion. SIT takes decision-makers of accession, as a subject and a part of the cultural and historical representation of European nations. The theory makes explicit why some member state representatives can sympathise with a new candidate country while others oppose effective relationship development (Curley, 2009:649-68).

The process of Europeanisation is prominently is an implementation of democracy from the perspective of receiving state. There are several challenges to integrating a pluralist society into a democratic framework. Plural society is deeply religious, ideologically, linguistically, culturally and ethnically diverse (Lijphart:1977). Contingent upon minimalist democracy, Turkey’s accession and membership suggests three dominant points of view: British, German and French (Møller and Skaaning, 2013:49). The British identity is distant from the Continental political culture asBritain shows an independent national identity and delineates a less important relation to Europe than other EU states. Therefore, Britain can act without considering the group identity’s interest and sympathise with Turkey if Istanbul meets the professional criteria of accession. German identity shows the priority of being European rather than German first. Turkish acceptance receives various approaches from German decision-makers. The French identity opposes the better Turkish integration, as France has an alternative ‘French dominant’ view of united Europe and strives to exclude unfamiliar countries (Curley, 2009:656-65). These examples show how the process of Europeanisation can prominently be an implementation of democracy from the perspective of receiving state.

Another example of the conditionality issue is the case-specific study of Azerbaijan. Lavrina (2018) points out that the policy of conditionality disengages a better-developed relationship between Baku and Brussels. The EU imposes difficult terms and conditions that make it implausible to establish a trustful relationship, which is based on shared values and interest in the Azerbaijani perspective. The two sides tend to focus on different priorities to gain maximum from the deficient partnership (Lavrina, 2018:11).

There are some adoption costs of accession from a state’s perspective, which mediates its adoption of democratisation. For instance, there is a forced implementation of protection of the law. The process establishes numerous democracy support reforms. The issue is that undemocratic regimes likely simulate so-called myth reforms. Wherefore, genuine reforms reduce the regime power projection and its elite groups to retain the mechanism of particularist resource exploitation. The regime is interested in a weak opposition to political changes from civil society. Democratic accountability mechanism is highly questionable (Lemstra, 2020:5). Rose (2009) maintains that accountability is the rule of law (2009:12). As Brussels faces democratic accountability challenges, the setback example increases the poor attitude from accession countries (Lemstra, 2020:6). For instance, the Council of Europe invigorates Azerbaijan’s image by providing high-visibility in Baku for the European Games 2015 and Eurovision Song Contest 2012. The event-related construction projects capture largely Azeri kleptocratic network-linked businesses (Chayes, 2016).

In this chapter, I discussed the condition of modern democracy in how it produces imperfect options to maintain democracy, and the criticism of liberal states regarding the exclusion of citizens by economic inequality who cannot afford time for participation in everyday life politics. I also discussed the evidence that demonstrates the justification of democratisation against the autocratic state model. The transition process from authoritarian governance to a democratic seeks tolerant civil society and liberal institutions, and there has to be a firm state to implement reforms. The modernisation theory overlaps with capitalistic progress that suggests a more suitable socio-economic condition to maintain democracy, although there is significant evidence that modernity attributes undemocratic regimes such as Chinese and Saudi Arabian. The EU conditionality instrument has partially implemented democratisation through the AP 1998 programme with CEE although evidence suggests that a few member countries, such as Poland and Hungary, practice a non-liberal democratic governance model in recent times. Whereas the EU political system based on increased technocracy and the ‘acquis’ has a scarcity of media freedom, human rights and condescension in appointments, CEE pursues different development goals than the idea of accession criteria demonstrates by Copenhagen 1993. The outcome of democratisation efforts shows a trend that what is eminent in the perspective of West-Europe, can be unsuitable to the post-communist countries. The post-Soviet bloc lacks the prosperity accomplishment compared to the Western member states, and the absence of wealth leads to alternative public politics to the liberal democracy in those countries. Nonetheless, the EU eastward enlargement is the only externally comprehensive and effective political integration in the aspect of democratic transformation worldwide. The European community applies active and passive leverages to negotiate in its best interest with a candidate state. The unity of European citizens, market economy and legislative reforms suggest that continental values are expandable and assist in the consolidation of modern democracy.

Chapter 2

The Case-Specific Study with Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani State Profile and Criticism of Autocracy

Azerbaijan considers EU’s external transformative influence through the latest policy framework Eastern Partnership ‘EaP’ 2009-2018 (Van Gils, 2019) The Azeri case-specific study strives to debate the hypothesis of whether the EU conditionality politics is a successful approach in human rights and democracy promotion ‘DHR’ outside of European nations’ scope against a more economically independent state than CEE countries. This chapter introduces an overview and critique of the governance model in Azerbaijan. Next, there is an investigation through Ernst Haas’ neo-functionalism theory (1958) with further recommendations where the two parties’ cooperation could generate sea changes in democracy development. In the final section, I present Van Gils’s counterargument to my hypothesis (2019) that EU transformative influence tends to be powerless when the negotiation partner is an independent country in economic and security aspects like Azerbaijan.

First of all, the term ‘EU’ includes institutions and actors such as European External Action Service ‘EEAS’, delegation team in Baku and member states, who serve diplomatic contact and negotiation with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan refers to the centralised Azeri government, the Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Van Gils, 2017: 388-405). The case study of Azerbaijan shows that the regime classifies to a rich and authoritarian governance model in contemporary times according to international standards (Bouchet and Pishchikova, 2020; Van Gils, 2019). The post-Soviet Eurasian state demonstrates severely limited support for civil freedom and political rights. The country regime presents the third way of post-soviet transformation from communistic legacy to autocracy (Haerpfer, 2009:317).

In historical context, Azerbaijan transforms the republican parliamentarian model of the first democratic Republic in the Muslim East into a dynastic despotism (Alieva, 2014:39-48). The governance model maintains the Soviet-style vertical power system (Denis, 2015:90) and its bureaucratic utopia with the political economy of oil resources (Alieva, 2014:39-48). As a result, the national economy is oil-based (Makgetlaneng, 2016). Baku applies independent pragmatism to balance the influence among great players and secure a trade corridor between Europe and Asia. The multi-vector foreign policy shows interest in all rivalry actors in the region, includingthe EU, US, Turkey and Russia.

Shiriyev and Denis (2019) explain that the Azeri regime is faced with internal criticisms and external challenges. The domestic issue is a violation of human rights, political rights and civil society appeal for governance transparency (Shiriyev and Denis, 2019:01, 2015:90). Meanwhile, the foreign challenge is the energy security concern with the EU (Shiriyev, 2019:01). The European Commission 2017 projects that the EU is the largest energy importer for Azerbaijan (Lavrina, 2018:7). Corruption is a significant issue in the current regime, which is an important internal criticism. The family of president Ilham Aliyev maintains a vertically integrated network of state resources; an example is of the bribe-pooling system where the spurious income of fine at street level go upward, and then the illegal income is redistributed centrally in official salaries. There is a horizontally created kleptocratic network as well (Chayes, 2016).

Valiyev (2012) highlights three fundamental areas where the deficit of democratic development is a burning issue. Firstly, there is public mistrust in state institutions. The illusionary high belief in the goodwill presidency devalues the institutional outlook because the public tends to acknowledge successful implementations with the president’s achievement. In this sense, the country leader is an outsider of the kleptocratic network and strives to fight against corrupted parts of the government. However, there is low trust in parliament, judiciary, ombudsman and local authorities from ordinary people’s perspective. The mistrust reduces the liberal development for civil society and non-corrupt institutions. The national political culture faces a crisis of paternalistic views. The public has an inappropriate understanding of the presidency function, government role and liberal democracy (Valiyev, 2012:2-3).

Secondly, Baku struggles in the progress of decentralisation at local self-government. The mechanism of the Soviet highly bureaucratic system is still a salient element of modern Azeri governance. The regional governments are strictly dependent on the appointed representatives by the regime. For all members of the Council of Europe from 2000, the elected municipalities perform poorly in reform implementation, and there is evidence about a destitute attitude towards making decisions. Therefore, the author maintains that the public administration reform is crucial to initiate transformation in the governmental system (Valiyev, 2012:4-5).

Thirdly, Azeri civil society is weak in the context of social capital criterion. The concept assesses economic, political, sociological and developmental aspects. In this context, the social organisations are based on shared trust and norms networks, which are, bonding and bridgingBonding refers to a connection between people who assume common traits with each other. Bridging refers to the coming together of citizens from varied backgrounds, ethnicities and professions. The bonding social capital dominates over bridging in professional and private spheres, as the regeneration of the elite is a fundamental principle of the Azeri traditional logic. Therefore, the contrast increases between the outsider and insider of the family or other types of bonding network. For instance, the network practices principles like loyalty act against professionalism to secure the clan hierarchy in the significant work structures (Valiyev, 2012:5-7).

On the contrary, Imran (2018) maintains that the state realises the vulnerability of the impartial economic structure on time. Therefore, authorities implement projects to improve the diversification of the economy and industrial sector. Simultaneously, Baku recognises the importance of soft power. Thus, Azerbaijani nationalism can be projected, as a prosperous, tolerant and geopolitical identity in this context. Azerbaijan also faces low awareness of English and other European languages, the smaller size of the population, insufficient industrial presence, and significant dependence on petro-dollar. The highlighted security threat can be seen in the Nagorno-Karabakh ‘N-K’ conflict. Baku redirects funding costs from industrial and social development to defensive expenditure but the oil source plays still an overwhelmingly crucial role against non-oil sectors in the export budget (Imran, 2018:114-5).

Fedotenkov (2021) explains that Azerbaijani citizens demand democracy in a higher percentage than Swedish or Swiss fellows, notwithstanding that the role of authoritarian leadership is growing in Baku (Fedotenkov, 2021:3-9). Consequently, the civilian people lack experience in other governance models under the longstanding autocratic regime. Citizens are an integrated part and ‘product’ of the current system practices in socially and culturally aspects (Bouchet, and Pishchikova, 2020:16). Although marginalised civil society lacks trust in the governance model, the state successfully diminishes the scope of Non-Governmental Organisations ‘NGOs’ to retain the control in overpowering. The independent media lacks financial support. These traditional NGOs focus on economic survival rather than the goals of their missions. Despite the hopeless conditions in NGO’s network, there is a new phenomenon: ‘NGOcracy’. The new generation of civil citizens accesses grant applications and aim to create an impact on socio-economic changes (Shiriyev, 2019:102). Welzel and Inglehart (2008) suggest that less appreciation of authoritarian leadership improves the call for a better level of democracy (Fedotenkov, 2021:3-9), where it is the EU’s external transformative influence becomes apropos in my research.

The EU’s International Influence in Democracy Promotion and Opportunities for Further Sector Expansions

The European community attempts to implement elements of democracy through numerous policies and programmes in the autocratic system. Brussels provides funding to one of these instruments: The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative ‘EITI’. EITI provides the drivers and interrogations toward a better liberal democracy in Azerbaijan. In this context, the image of transparent governance is salient with EITI membership for oil and gas business from Western companies’ perspective (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:12-14). The government is motivated to keep its positive global image by initiating comprehensive political reforms (Makili-Aliyev, 2013:3). Notwithstanding that NGO’s want to experience political transformation by democratic reforms swifter than the EITI membership can generate, there is still non-governmental scepticism about the state’s willingness to pursue reform politics for democratisation purposes (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:12-14). This suggests a natural and understandable gap between civil society and government where the former keeps the latter engaged with the need to keep reforming and not consider reforms complete at any given time.

There are several key drivers with EITI membership for Baku. Firstly, a good reputation is crucial (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:12). The EU can indirectly influence empowerment of non-state actors such as the EITI organisation in favour of liberal democratic values against the participators of the old autocratic system throughaccountability and transparency for domestic policies (Lemstra, 2020:1-7). Therefore, the fundamental reform process improves better transparency and democratic governance for the EITI network. A better international outlook in responsibility and transparency are valuable for the state’s oil public company SOCAR when the government aims to build trust with international actors and investors (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:12). Secondly, the social significance of civil society cannot be overemphasised in Azerbaijan. The NGO’s network gradually develops and can assist EITI’s project implementation by modifying the existing political system. Thirdly, international organisations such as World Bank, Open Society Institute, Global Witness, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund demand political reforms through EITI (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:14).

Sovacool and Andrews (2015) argue that the application of EITI does lead to the salience of reliable information and data about the extractive industries, but it is not appropriate to attribute governance improvements casually to the EITI; in other words, if there is some improvement in governance, this does not lead to the conclusion that such improvements can be attributed to EITI. There are other factors at play including some complex, global forces that affect the indicators behind governance or sustainable development in Azerbaijan (Sovacool & Andrews, 2015).

There are several challenges to impose more effective EITI’s reforms. For example, there is disaggregated report of company business, governmental oil contracts with transnational partners miss maximisation of the benefit for Baku (Ospanova, Ahmadov and Wilson, 2013:14-5).

Whereas the oil-focused economy is associated with undemocratic regime model, non-oil orientation providence enables to improve the quality of democracy. Lavrina (2018) traces the expandable cooperation out of the energy field between Brussels and Baku. There are three areas of issue, such as human rights policy, decentralisation of national oil economy and destitute cooperation with civil society, where the improvement can satisfy the EU’s conditionality. Lavrina (2018) claims that tourism, education and entrepreneurship are key sector drivers for deeper partnership integration. These sectors provide mutual interest but also require new reforms to unlock the future potentiality for bilateral relations. For instance, reforms seek to involve individual expertise, NGO and governmental contribution to strengthen the economic growth. Civil society’s engagement improves the democratisation process and trust-building in the partnership (Lavrina, 2018:7-8).

Lavrina (2018) applies the neo-functionalism theory by Ernst Hass (1958) to investigate how economic interdependency generates trustful cooperation between political and economic agents. As argued, a more shared interest in economic policy can register further political integration for Baku. The non-state actors play a sustained role to integrate regional parts of the state model. Theory relevantly emerged in the productive era of the European Economic Community ‘EEC’ in the 1950s. In this historical context, member states are more likely to process political incentives in other and non-oil sectors after there are limited but clear economic interrelations. Lavrina (2018)identifies the democratisation waive as a new political intention for the Azerbaijani case study. The beneficial economic gains require the state to maintain a productive relationship with the EU. The trend can spread to other fields, where there is a poor quality of democracy. As a result, political integration will be more available. The improvement of more personalised contact between the two parties can support intercultural dialogue and intercultural understanding for the next generation of citizens in the non-state participator’s perspective (Lavrina, 2018:8-9).

Declining Success in the Conditionality and Power Asymmetry

The European conditionality policies intend to promote liberal democracy but there are some criticisms in its overall success in Azerbaijan. For instance, Brussels imposes some negative impact with its terms and conditions approach on Baku’s perception in the accession structure in the European Neighbourhood Policy ‘ENP’ since 2006. The EU sharply focuses on energy sectors to improve bilateral cooperation. Then, the European Parliament 2017 proposes the action plan, which requests the receiving state to commit to the European values of democracy, civil liberty, rule of law, good leadership, market economy and sustainable development for cooperation. The ENP has fundamentally short-term gains including relaxation of visa requirement and financial assistance rather than long-term objectives. The policy fails to establish security, stability, prosperity for the state. Finally, the EU often criticises the Azerbaijani government for violation of human rights and rights of civil society. The majorly rhetorical dialogue is destructive, as it falls short of solution for the issues, and the Azeri government loses stimulation regarding deeper integration prospects. The EU can offer better accession after the successful domestic reform implementation concerning problems such as democracy and civil liberty. Therefore, the conditionality principle increases the absence of trust and confidence and fails to emphasise the common interest with Azerbaijan for the step-change in the bilateral relation (Lavrina, 2018:10-13).

There is a different understanding and interpretation of DHR between Brussels and Baku (Van Gils, 2019). Whereas DHR is a policy priority and core principle for the EU through the EaP, the Azerbaijani regime continues to disregard any transformative engagement about oppressive political changes. The poor performance can be seen in DHR since 1991 as a challenge in domestic politics for Brussels as well. Baku is considered a lucrative lobby partner of energy supply for the community. DHR poses a conflict in agenda interest for the two parties. The transformative effect underlies ideas such as rule of law, good governance, conflict mediation, trade regulation and economic reforms in the promotion of external values.

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Baku rationalist approach on oil resources serves the political elite’s interest, and does not increase integrative attitude to Brussels. There is an explicit resistance to EU critique and no will to improve the democratic credentials of the country from an international perspective. For example, the government implements restrictive law amendments to exacerbate NGO capacity in the country so that the regime can accomplish transnational business and security deals easier, while the lack of civil society development regresses the path of integration to Western liberal democracy. Civil society plays a vital role to shape national identity and aspirational reforms (Alieva, 2014:39-48). There is much literature on the significance of the civil society in the development of democracy. Hamre and Sullivan (2002) have considered that it is imperative to provide an “active and open participation of civil society in the formulation of the country's government and its policies” (92). Stephenson (2005) has emphasised that successful democratic nation-building process is not just premised on economic development, but also the promotion of democratic values of the civil society and culture (Stephenson, 2005). In the event of absence of complete engagement of civil society, a goal of creating a holistic society cannot be achieved as the disenfranchised groups would create interference for such building activities (Peot, 2006).The EU has signed three legal frameworks to compose its interaction with Baku since 2010. Whereas Brussels applies a unilateral approach, Baku tends to arrange inclusivity and dialogical format in the partnership (Van Gils, 2018:1572-96).

The recent policy framework is the EaP 2009-2018. The EU sets up commitment to international law, corruption measures, public administration and judicial reform, and rule of law. Van Gils (2019) argues that there is a clarity gap between conditionality instrument plan and democracy promotion. The issue of double standards shows that the importance of Azerbaijani oil generates an absence of strong EU agenda and makes inconsistent policies about DHR. As a result, the EU tends to widen its flexibility for Baku with vague explanations about alleged achievement and effort in Azerbaijani democratisation. There are three reasons for substandard policy implementation (Van Gils, 2019). The first is the awareness in Brussels that albeit the Azerbaijani regime being undemocratic, it guarantees political stability, and there are no credible alternatives. European bureaucrats believe that state model development is time-consuming, simultaneously, political stability is at risk for a longer-term. The second is that democratic influence takes a long way in the change of societal mentality. Azerbaijani culture is based on corruption in the public sphere and clan orientated family ties in professional sectors. The third is that Brussels has more burning policy problems like Ukraine and the Middle East, nevertheless, the quality of human rights continues going downhill, and the current policy framework is insufficient (Van Gils, 2019).

Van Gils (2019) uses the term bargaining power to analyse the relationship between the hegemonic actor and an independently flexible state. The concept traces how actors can utilise their assets to advance the representation of their favourable interests. The strategic skillset can enhance the outcome of relations to one’s benefit. These skillsets are power base, negotiation and capacity, domestic context, and perception of the ‘Self and the ‘Other’. Azerbaijan excels in all five skills in opposition to the EU, which forces the hegemonic actor to be more flexible and accept the legitimacy of the autocratic regime (Van Gils, 2019). Baku seeks more equality and, therefore, a differentiated and tailored policy for its national interest regarding the existing legal framework. The state aims to secure better conditions for technological and economic areas rather than democracy reforms for domestic policies. Azerbaijan is not like other EaP states such as Belarus, Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as it openly challenges the EU approach and demonstrates a disinterest in deeper Europeanisation processes (Van Gils, 2017: 388-405).

Furthermore, there is an alteration in the relationship between the EU and Azerbaijan. The community considers its own values and norms universal but, Azerbaijan does not accept them. The Azeri regime refuses the process of Europeanisation from its cultural perspective. Van Gils (2019) highlights the issue of power asymmetry, as Brussels starts relying on Baku more than the other way around. The DHR becomes a negative agenda in the negotiation process and Azerbaijani independence in economic and security sectors allows it to ignore the EU policy instruments without the threat of sanctions. Brussels consider a long-term persuasion and strategy that may take time through assistance to civil society (Van Gils, 2019). The EU normative power focuses on the spread of democracy rather than the defence of human rights. Notwithstanding that the civil society develops a communicative relationship with Brussels, there is a visible lack of bridge between the Azeri nation and the EU policymakers. The gap occurs because the EU representation and delegation in Baku is not the same who produce the legal framework for policies in Brussels. The CSOs have a great limit to influence the relevant European statesman and EU funding goes through the regime’s legal network to support NGOs (Van Gils, 2017: 388-405).

In sum, the criticism of the governance model shows that Azerbaijan practices a vertical and presidential power in an autocratic regime. There is the absence of a strong CS, and corruption plays a dominant role in public administration. The kleptocratic governance associates the oil-based economy and non-democratic leadership fundamentally. Due to this approach there is economic progress, but little democratisation process. The EU stands up as an external promoter of democracy through several foreign relations instrument policies. The EITI demonstrates an action plan in opposition to the maintenance of autocracy but the clarity of the implementation is not sufficient enough for breakthrough improvement in the quality of democracy.

This chapter introduced the neo-functionalism theory that economic interdependence help in widening the scope of shared interest and trust to other sectors, and ultimately a political integration is more applicable. But the bargaining power term indicates the insufficiency in Brussels’ conditionality instrument against a flexible and resilient Baku. Baku has excellent assets in all five criteria in the bargaining power. In this perspective, Azerbaijan does not need an economic and security umbrella from the EU, and the regime successfully overlooks the DHR demand from Brussels. Whereas the democracy promotion would consider a firmer attitude about negotiation with the autocratic state, Brussels faces priority and transparency issues, as it tends to depend more on the interest of oil deals with Baku than the complicated DHR agenda that underpins the regime legitimacy. Nevertheless, the analysis highlights that Brussels’ conditionality foreign relation policies are relevant and have the potential to influence the Azerbaijani state more forcefully. If the community reforms its priorities in domestic politics concerning foreign policy instruments, the autocratic regime will find it more difficult to refuse the democratisation efforts in key governmental sectors.


In essence, democracy requires three fundamental principles of governmental operation: electoral rights, political liberty and rule of law. Democracy distinguishes from autocracy in social and institutional perspectives. I identified state capture as one of the associative issues with the autocratic governance model in this research but, also that autocratic regime can be legitimate, and it largely depends on citizen’s priority in value order. The economy appears salient in modern conditions of democracy. Therefore, modernity tends to partner with the success of democratisation against traditional and autocratic regimes. There is evidence that modernisation brings capitalisation and globalisation into a non-democratic governance model such as Saudi Arabia. Albeit, European civilisation has been the pioneer of modernity in comparison to other civilisations, the European community represents the value of democracy and contains democratic member states.

The integration of CEE post-communist states is the only externally successful democratisation, where Brussels could set favourable negotiation through AP to implement the elementary principles of 'acquis'. Some CEE states concern the quality of democracy in recent times. For instance, Poland practices illiberal governance where there is room for abuse of human rights and corruption in public appointments. The findings explicate that there are several causes of the current undemocratic course in CEE, such as delay in integration incentive, incomplete economic recovery in the post-soviet era and the problem of ‘ongoing process’ regarding maintenance of democratic state model, which leads to dissatisfaction of those country elites. Brussels operates in a technocratic system, and its ‘acquis’ shows some deficiency in human rights and cronyism. There is scepticism concerning the true effectiveness of conditionality instruments as well, as findings show there has been a forceful mutual interest in unity. Whereas CEE sought economic and security assistance without alternative options after 1989, Western Europe pursued a solidarity action to resolve the issue of disparity in Europe.

The second chapter strived to critically assess the conditionality approach to a non-European authoritarian state: Azerbaijan. The case study demonstrates that Azerbaijani flexibility imposes different nature of obstacles for the EU foreign relation instruments than CEE countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The autocratic regime is not involved in European affairs economically, and culturally, and applies various assets to rule out Brussels’ democracy promotion. Brussels provides funding to democracy improvement programmes like EITI, however, the interrelation tends to be more financial as opposed to political between the hegemonic and regional actors. Findings emphasise the burning issue of the oil-based economy for Baku and Brussels’s particular interest in the energy supply. The community fails to develop a shared interest in other than the energy sector with Baku that could instigate a political transformation in favour of democracy regarding Ernst Haas’ (1958) neo-functionalism theory. Brussels consequently faces the tension dilemma between DHR promotion and supportive oil deals in Azerbaijan. The DHR agenda misses being an indisputable part of the policy negotiation, which retains legitimacy for the current autocratic governance model. It can be argued that conditionality negotiation is significantly different when the receiving state is independent in economic and security areas, and where there is no cultural solidarity in parity or Europeanisation either.

Nonetheless, findings suggest that the tendency of unilateral relationships is changeable. There are obstacles to domestic policies in Brussels. Policymakers understand that the development of democracy isa long-term prospect and the ruling regime can guarantee political stability at least. The community prioritise, for example, Ukraine over Azerbaijan in foreign relation action plans. Brussels tackles its challenges of transparency and accountability as well. Therefore, the success of the conditionality instrument is certain as far as the hegemonic actor aims to utilise its all assets in a DHR promotion. In this context, the EU is still a successful external promoter of democracy and liberalism eastward.


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