Mark Rutte, Ursula von der Leyen, Kaïs Saïed , and Giorgia Meloni shaking hands
Mark Rutte, Ursula von der Leyen, Kais Saied, and Giorgia Meloni. | Photo: Dati Bendo, © European Union, 2023

EU Democracy Support in the Southern Neighborhood: How the EU Contradicts its own Practices

For decades, the EU has declared that it aims to support democratization in its southern neighborhood. Yet, the EU’s cooperation with repressive rulers in other policy fields, such as energy, migration, security, and trade, contradicts the EU’s own democracy support objectives. European policymakers have apparently not learnt from the pre-2011 period. As we argue in our project SHAPEDEM-EU, the EU must embark on a journey of un-, de- and re-learning, and it must avoid contradicting practices in different policy fields. This can be done by introducing a democracy learning loop.