EU HORIZON grant for Giselle Bosse

The EU has awarded a Horizon grant of €3 million to a consortium of 14 research institutions, including Maastricht University, with the aim of analysing blockages to democratisation in the European neighbourhood, identifying ways to overcome them and suggesting new policy tools for EU democracy promotion (EUDP).

Giselle Bosse will lead the work-package on “Democratisation and Economic Modernisation in Authoritarian and Hybrid Regimes”.

The project “Embracing Change: Overcoming obstacles and advancing democracy in the European Neighbourhood (EMBRACE)” is coordinated by Prof. Sonja Grimm (Konstanz University), Dr. Véronique Dudouet (Berghof Foundation) and Andrea Wohner (Concentris).

EMBRACE takes stock of developments in democracy-building, assessing EUDP instruments, ambitions and concepts. EMBRACE investigates episodes of political deadlock and opening to identify, analyse and explain behavioural, institutional and structural blockages, and the conditions under which they can be overcome.

EMBRACE is sensitive to variation in democratisation trajectories, and the cultural, historical, and geopolitical context in which blockages emerge. It also keeps an eye on the blockages from within the EU.

EMBRACE surveys the local needs for an improved EUDP and develops new policy tools (e.g. digital platform, EUDP mapping tool, EUDP best-practices collection, policy papers, video clips, podcasts, training webinars) for EUDP practitioners and pro-democracy activists. EMBRACE’s approach to empirical research combines a quantitative large-n with a qualitative middle-n comparative research strategy.

Quantitatively, EMBRACE analyses the larger trends of EUDP and its effects on democratisation over the last two decades in all 23 neighbours. Qualitatively, EMBRACE investigates episodes of deadlock and opening from 12 selected countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Western Balkans, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Intra- and cross-regional comparison is systematically included in EMBRACE’s research design and WP structure. For data collection and analysis, consortium partners located in EU- and in non-EU countries team up.

Six stakeholder committees monitor the entire research process assuring that local needs and narratives are considered. In doing so, EMBRACE provides the EU with in-depth knowledge and an innovative policy toolkit enhancing partnerships for a stable and secure European neighbourhood, and incentivising resilient political actors to embrace democratic change.

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