ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Assessing the State of Democracy in Europe

Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London
Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London
Open Panel

Abstract

Democracy is a dominant form of government in Europe. Yet, European democracies have evolved over decades and have shown different paths of democratization. Countries from Southern and Eastern Europe emerged from the ‘third wave of democratization’ and consolidated their democracies in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. They are now studied not only as outcomes of democratization, but as democratic systems per se. Unsurprisingly, Freedom House and the Polity project classify most European countries as democracies. Yet, the state of democracy varies. Almost monopolistic control of the broadcast media by the Prime Minister Berlusconi and corruption allegations against him, limits on freedom of speech and corruption of police in Greece, corruption of the judiciary in Latvia, organized crime and corruption in Bulgaria and Romania (Freedom House 2010) raise an issue about the quality of democracy in Europe. How democratic are European democracies? This paper will attempt to answer this question by examining the state of democracy of the 27-EU member states. Firstly, it will offer a systematic examination of the state of democracy by proposing a new index. Secondly, this paper will propose explanations for variation focusing on institutions, political and social actors, norms and values.