This article seeks to unpack the implications of the deteriorating rule of law within the EU’s eastern members for the EU’s external democracy promotion. We examine the legitimacy of the EU’s support for democracy in the European neighbourhood in light of the internal EU rule-of-law crisis. Adopting a sociological perspective, we emphasize local perceptions of the EU by tracing the legitimation dynamics at play in neighbouring societies. We adopt a tripartite conception of external legitimacy based on appropriateness, utilitarian consensus, and empathy. Using representative public opinion surveys, we show that the democratic erosion in the eastern EU members has not (yet) negatively impacted the EU’s credibility in supporting democracy in the neighbourhood. The article contributes to the research on the legitimacy of EU foreign policy and the literature on the legitimacy of international organizations. It also contributes to the broader effort at provincializing International Relations and decentring EU foreign policy studies.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Journal of European Public Policy|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2023|
- EU foreign policy
- rule of law
- European neighbourhood