This project examines how EU agreements to create Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) affect regime stability in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. In all three countries, the regimes are conceptualised as social orders where elites exploit their privileged access to political and economic resources for the sake of private gains, albeit to different degrees.
In theory, greater economic integration in the European internal market, for example through trade liberalisation and compliance with EU market rules, is likely to enable more economic actors to access economic resources such as trade and entrepreneurial activities. As a result, they may demand more political participation and accountability from the state.
The project aims to reveal the (partly unintended) consequences of economic integration with the EU for the social orders in the three Eastern neighbours. The results will provide important insights into how to bring about economic and political competition, rather than stabilise existing regimes that limit access to political and economic resources to the benefit of the dominant elite.
- Comparative case studies
- Qualitative interviews
- Secondary analysis
- Under what conditions do the DCFTAs reinforce or transform the existing social orders in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which restrict access to political and economic resources to the benefit of elites?
- How do the three countries differ in this regard and what are the reasons for these differences?
- How can the EU use the DCFTAs more effectively to promote greater political and economic competition in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova?