Pathologies of Europeanization: Fighting Corruption in the Southern Caucasus
Tanja A. Börzel, Yasemin Pamuk – 2012
In order to stabilise the post-Soviet region, the European Union seeks to transform the domestic structures of the Newly Independent States. In light of high adaptation costs, the lack of a membership perspective, and low levels of democracy, the prospects of Europeanisation appear to be limited. The Southern Caucasus belongs to the most corrupt countries in the world. While being least likely cases, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have responded to the EU's demands for good governance introducing formal institutional changes. Moreover, despite their differences in statehood, democracy, and power (a)symmetries with the EU, domestic institutional changes look very similar. This double puzzle is explained by differential empowerment. Instead of liberal reform coalitions, which are largely absent in the Southern Caucasus, the incumbent regimes have instrumentalised the EU, selectively implementing anti-corruption policies to gain and consolidate political power. As a result, the EU stabilises rather than transforms its neighbourhood.