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The European Neighbourhood Policy in the South Caucasus : involvement of NGO's in the Democratization Process

Thijs Rommens

One of the recurring themes within the ENP is promoting commitment to shared values. This paper examines which place democratization has in the agreements signed between the EU and the governments of the three republics and if, and how, NGO's use and refer to these agreements in order to push for democratization. The first part of the paper starts from the observation that there is a double discrepancy between the rhetorics of democratization and the policymaking process itself. On the one hand the EU has not managed to incorporate civil society in the drafting and implementation of the ENP Action Plans. On the other hand civil society in the region is not sufficiently matured and there is a lack of institutionalised modes of communication between civil society and politics. In the second part the paper provides a theoretical framework for analyzing the possibility that the gap between policy and rhetorics creates for the input of NGO's. By adapting the mechanism of 'rhetorical action', coined by Frank Schimmelfennig, to the policy field of the ENP-negotiations and monitoring, an assessment is made whether the ENP leads to a more prominent role of NGO's in democratization.

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