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Transnational learning and civil society empowerment in the EU enlargement process

Abstract : Strengthening civil society as a domestic safeguard against the backsliding of reforms is a cornerstone of the EU enlargement process. Support provided by the EU, however, was shown to have had limited effects in triggering civil society empowerment in candidate countries. Adopting a novel perspective, this article demonstrates that the diffusion of mobilization formats, via transnational learning between activists from different enlargement rounds, facilitated the empowerment of non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) in countries joining later. Drawing on comparative evidence from Serbia and Montenegro, it shows how such transfers of external models enabled NGOs to feed into the ongoing membership talks. Their influence over substantive outcomes, however, was limited by a lack of domestic responsiveness, while funding availability constrained the operation of the transferred formats. These findings shed light on an overlooked dimension of learning in the context of Europeanization and feed into the debate on civil society empowerment in enlargement countries.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 2:30:36 PM
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Natasha Wunsch. Transnational learning and civil society empowerment in the EU enlargement process. Journal of Common Market Studies, 2019, 57 (2 (First online 2018-10)), pp.406 - 423. ⟨10.1111/jcms.12808⟩. ⟨hal-03578695⟩



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