Stuck in ENP purgatory? An assessment of the EU’s external legitimacy mechanisms

EU3D Research Papers, No. 12, July 2021 (SSRN)

Magdalena Góra and Marcin Zubek


The EU is developing closer ties with some of its neighbours, creating various forms of external differentiated integration (EDI). Since these relations are continuously asymmetrical in terms of power, scholars raise the issue of how power and dominance feature in such structures. The main aim of this research paper is to investigate how, in the context of EDI, the EU creates structures in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), and specifically the Eastern Partnership (EaP), that allow more participation and increasing input and throughput legitimacy for partner countries and their societies. Secondly, the research paper shows how political actors from partner countries perceive these structures and tools and what improvements they propose. This is done through analysis of the mechanisms and practices, which the EU is employing to improve participation and external legitimacy within the ENP. The research paper consists of a theoretical section, in which we examine the EU’s interdependence and EDI structures in the neighbourhood as well as using the concept of dominance to unpack its characteristics. This is followed by an analysis of external EU legitimacy and its indicators treated as a means to improve relations with the neighbours. In the empirical section, we identify and analyse selected mechanisms through which the EU is trying to improve its external legitimacy in the neighbourhood. We mainly look at two institutional tools: (1) consultations on the ENP reform and (2) the ENP Interparliamentary Assemblies (EuroNEST).


Dominance, European Neighbourhood Policy, European Union, External differentiated integration, External legitimacy

By Magdalena Góra, Marcin Zubek
Published July 30, 2021 5:45 PM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2021 4:52 PM