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Normative power Europe? EU relations with Moldova

Keywords: normative political theory , CFSP/ESDP , East-Central Europe , transition processes , democracy , democratization , governance , enlargement , political science

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This article analyses the extent to which the European Union (EU) constitutes a normative power in its relations with Moldova. ‘Normative power Europe’ is examined along three dimensions: (i) normative intent; (ii) normative process; and (iii) normative impact. Our empirical analysis focuses on two norms: democracy and good governance. In addition, we ask how ‘normatively’ the EU has acted regarding a solution to the Transnistrian conflict. On the basis of our three-dimensional framework, we find that EU normative power can be judged as only moderate in EU-Moldovan relations. As for intent, while norms of democracy and good governance seem to play a central role in EU-Moldovan relations, the Union tends to apply double standards in terms of what it expects from (EU) Member States and what it asks of Moldova, and also seems to be inconsistent in its policies towards Moldova and Ukraine. In terms of process, the degree of inclusiveness on the part of the Union has not been satisfactory. Neither has the extent of reflexivity, but more recently the Commission seems to have developed a more reflexive behaviour. In regards to impact, while norm changes in Moldova have been modest/moderate, it seems that the EU has substantially contributed to these changes.


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