Research on transnational human rights promotion and democratization often assumes that human rights promotion and democratization promotion are the same. But evidences from recent studies give reasons to question this assumption. This article compares the EU’s influence on democratization and human rights reforms in 29 countries in East-Europe West-Asia, the Middle East, and North-Africa. The results indicate that the impact of the EU on human rights protection is more notable than its impact on democracy levels. The article explains these results based on the lower level of threat to regime survival as a result of human rights reform, compared to democratization; the transmission of a clear message regarding the importance of the issue of human rights to the EU and to the member states; and the strong economic leverage the EU possess. The article draws policy implications including matching each policy goal with the most effective instruments to achieve it. The most effective human rights promotion instrument is economic pressure whereas democratization is more influenced by emulation processes than by economic pressure.
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- economic coercion
- human rights
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