- The EU's Democracy Promotion Meets Informal Politics: The Case of Leaders' Meetings in the Republic of Macedonia
- Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia
- Slavica Publishers
- Volume 7, Number 2, July 2018
- pp. 71-96
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Previous studies of the effects of EU political conditionality on democratic consolidation in the candidate countries have been predominantly centered on the formal aspects of institutional compliance. But what happens when EU demands are met by EU brokered decisions in an informal, extra institutional setting? International actors, predominantly the USA and the EU, have played an essential political role in the democratization of the Republic of Macedonia ever since its independence. In times of political crises, the role of the international actors is further accentuated by the inability of domestic political parties to find a solution to specific political dead ends that seem to occur regularly in Macedonian politics. The paper analyzes the effects of EU engagement in stimulating, instigating, and managing extra-institutional political formats of decision making on democratization and institutionalization in Macedonia. The analysis focuses on the leadership meetings during political crises that have resulted in such package deals as the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the Law on Territorial Organization, and the May Agreement, with a predominant accent on the 2014 political crisis in Macedonia and its ongoing resolution. The paper argues that while such informal practices of conflict resolution might be effective in the short run, they could negatively impact the long-term prospects of institutionalization.