English Intern
Institut für Politikwissenschaft und Soziologie

EMBRACing changE: Overcoming Blockages and Advancing Democracy in the European Neighbourhood (EMBRACE)

Sonja Grimm is the Scientific Lead and Co-Coodinator of EMBRACE, a collaborative Horizon Europe Research consortium. 

Description: The EMBRACE project analyses authoritarian resilience and de-democratization in the European Neighbourhood. It does so through an inter-disciplinary, multi-method and cross-regional assessment of both blockages to and drivers of democratisation in 12 case study countries across Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Western Balkans, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Together, 14 international partner institutions will develop innovative policy tools to improve the European Union’s capacity for democracy promotion, from above – through institution-building and collaboration with reform-minded elites, and from below – through engagement with civil society and social movements. The main objectives of EMBRACE are to: (1) Assess the state of European Union’s democracy promotion in the European Neighbourhood; (2) Advance evidence-based knowledge on blockages to democratisation in the European Neighbourhood and ways to overcome them based on locally-owned solutions; and (3) Strengthen the capacity of policy-makers and local stakeholders to incentivise resilient political actors to embrace democratic change, and enhance partnerships for a stable and secure European Neighbourhood in which democracy can flourish. The distinctive methodological feature of EMBRACE as a collaborative research endeavour is its emphasis on the combined used of quantitative and qualitative comparative research methods for the empirical study. Quantitative methods will include a large-n analysis based on a new dataset assessing the effects of EU instruments and the impact of internal and external blockages on democratisation. Qualitative fieldwork methodologies will include stakeholder surveys, in-depth expert interviews, ethnographic interviews, focus group discussions, and participation in formal and informal interactions.

Project partners: Berghof Foundation Operations gGmbH, Berlin, Germany  (Coordinator); University of Konstanz (Germany) (Co-Coordinator); University of Lleida (Spain); University of Maastricht (Netherlands); Stockholm University (Sweden); University of Gent (Belgium); Elliniko Idryma Evropaikis kai Exoterikis Politikis (ELIAMEP) (Greece); Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) (France, Tunisia, Lebanon); Ukrainian Association of European Studies (Ukraine); Ilia State University (Georgia); University of Belgrade (Serbia); PalThink for Strategic Studies (Palestine); Concentris research management GmbH (Germany); University of Manchester (United Kingdom) – associated partner bringing their own funding

Coordinator: Berghof Foundation Operations gGmbH, Berlin, Dr. Véronique Dudouet

Co-Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Sonja Grimm

Duration: 2022 – 2025

Funding volume: 2,8 Mio EUR

Funding organization: European Union in the call “HORIZON-CL2-2021-DEMOCRACY-01”

Project website