White Paper
on EU Democracy Support

“In the EU you have half a billion people who share a common belief in democracy, in rights, in the kind of economic life we want.”

– Catherine Ashton –

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The 2nd major objective of M.O.R.D.O.R. is to bring change to EU policy-making in regard to democracy support, by providing EU policy-makers with top-notch recommendations – in the form of a White Paper. The project aims to make an impact regarding a shift in perspective for policy-makers on how authoritarian contexts matter for policy, and more differentiation in EU democracy-promoting strategies per target region. The goal is to inform leading EU policy-makers on how to make EU democracy-support policies more effective by also assessing them from the perspective of how authoritarian regimes function and their societies react, instead of merely extrapolating normative frameworks that are biased by Western-centric worldviews and expectations about democracy. This in turn should lead to an updated and improved EU-policy regarding EU democracy-support and EU democracy-promotion, as well as a systemic, lasting contribution of the insights of the White Paper within the environment of policy-analysis. 


Regarding the second goal, EU foreign policy promoting democracy and good governance is too often biased on the ‘Western’ model of state and society, and seldom distinguishes among types of dictatorships, their different civil-military relations, regional path-dependencies or changing contexts. Such omissions were visible in policy-formulation towards the “Color Revolutions” and the so-called “Arab Spring.” 


M.O.R.D.O.R. will survey and analyze the last decades of EU foreign policy promoting democracy and good governance, identify shortcomings and offer recommendations based on insights by both dictatorship experts and area specialists. These recommendations will be presented to relevant EU-policy makers concerning the EU’s most relevant foreign policy vectors. 


This white paper will be a policy-paper covering (among other): 

  • evolution of EU democracy promotion (challenges, pitfalls, policy conflicts)
  • analysis of current vectors, areas and obstacles
  • comparison of policies toward target regions
  • recommendations on how to differentiate among autocratic ‘targets’ of EU democracy promotion
  • recommendations on promoting and consolidating democracy, and preventing backsliding
  • recommendations on identifying alarming autocratic behavior (early warning)

The target audiences are:

  • EU Policy-makers
  • EU foreign policy analysts


– Connect area experts with dictatorship scholars and EU foreign policy analysts to contrast theory-driven insights with regional expertise to create new recommendations for EU policy-makers. 

– Inform leading EU policy-makers on the current effectiveness of the EU multi-vector democracy-promoting policies from the perspective of how dictatorships function and react instead of extrapolating normative frameworks that are biased by democratic or Western-centric worldviews and expectations. 

White Paper Team

Team Leaders


Universiteit Gent

Fabienne Bossuyt is Associate Professor at and co-coordinator of the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies (GIES) at the Department of Political Science at Ghent University. She is a senior lecturer in the MA programme in EU Studies and the MA Programme in Global Studies. In addition, she is co-director of the Russia Platform of Ghent University. She is also a Professorial Fellow at UNU-CRIS, and is active as an affiliated researcher of EUCAM. Her main area of expertise is the EU’s relations with Central Asia. Her most recent research projects focus on various aspects of the EU’s relations with and policies towards Central Asia and other post-Soviet countries, including development policy and human rights promotion. 

Nathan Vandeputte


Nathan Vandeputte is a PhD Researcher and teaching assistant at the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies. His research concerns EU democracy support in Uganda, whereby he approaches ‘democracy’ from a decentered, radical democratic theoretical perspective. Specifically, he engages with the question: how to conceptualize ‘the political’ when rejuvenating EU democracy support? Prior to starting his PhD, Nathan obtained his Master degree in EU studies at Ghent University in 2016 (summa cum laude).

Consortium Experts

These experts are involved in reviewing current EU democracy support strategies, the existing literature and relevant recommendations and then build upon them, also using input from dictatorship experts and Area Study Experts, as well as from Grassroots Experts during round table consultations. These specialists (both scholars and policy-analysts) will be tasked with creating content for the concept paper, and later update it with above mentioned input, creating the final version of the White Paper. 

This group will also contribute blog posts, info-graphics, shorter reports,  etc.) They will share their practical experience as teachers during master class of policy-analysis and EU policy. 

Grassroots Experts

These are practitioners implementing democracy in EU-target regions, they will give crucial feedback on the concept paper, and some of them will be invited to teach practical skills and local perspectives to students in the second master class (2023).