Democratization by international organizations: EU and Romania


In one of his most famous books (Third Wave, 1991), Samuel P. Huntington compares Romania and Sudan in terms of negative perspectives of democratization linked to similar domestic factors. As history has later shown, however, different external influences have led Romania to become a democracy and Sudan to be still an authoritarian regime that has been afflicted by civil war and secession. This paper picks up the case of Romania to show how strong can be the influence of international organizations in bringing about a profound political and institutional change that would have been otherwise difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. In the first part of the paper, a reconstruction of the political and institutional dynamics underlying the years from the death of Ceaușescu up throughout the Romania’s EU membership are the empirical basis to check the suggested hypothesis. A second part of the paper will show more generally what are the main aspects characterizing the action of international organizations, namely the EU, and what are the conditions to get a similar influence in other cases and areas.