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Promoting democracy through civic organizations: Comparing effects of EU funding opportunities in Europe and Central America

Rosa Sanchez
University of Amsterdam
Kevin Parthenay
Sciences Po Paris
Rosa Sanchez
University of Amsterdam
Open Panel

Abstract

Many studies on development assistance or foreign policy focus on democracy promotion and particularly on the strengthening of civic organizations. The underlying idea is that democratization has to grow from within and that support to non state actors can foster such a bottom-up process of democratization (Knodt and Juneman, 2008). This article brings together literature on external and internal promotion of civic organizations. What are the instruments and strategies used by the European Union to promote civil society organizations? Are there any differences about civil society promotion in third countries and civil society promotion within the EU itself? This article will not only compare EU efforts and strategies at home and abroad but also in which ways such efforts have affected (or not) the current civil society landscape in both regions. This article focuses on inducing instruments for the promotion of democracy, in particular EU funding opportunities. After presenting the analytical framework and the main hypothesis, this paper will compare EU funding opportunities available for European and Central American transnational regional networks of civic organizations. We argue that EU efforts to foster regional civic organizations matter. The regional civil society landscape in both regions would be considerably different in the absence of EU funding opportunities. Excluded groups would be much less represented and principles such as representativity and transparency would be less taken into account.