The EU’s democracy assistance efforts in Belarus - An analysis of the character of EU democracy assistance and involvement in the mass protests of 2020-2021 in Belarus
During recent events, Belarus has come under the light due to the falsified re-election of Lukashenko in 2020. Mass protests arose, and the civil society’s demand for democracy became clear. This thesis aims to research how the European Union’s democracy assistance approach towards civil society is reflected during the mass protests of 2020-2021. The research question is to analyze how the EU reacted during the mass protests of 2020-2021. Researchers have previously not studied how the EU supports their claim that they will support the civil society in neighbouring countries to push for democratization in the neighbouring ENP country Belarus. I use process tracing to conduct my thesis on the specific incident of the mass protests of 2020-2021 to make my own contribution to this field. The material consists of numerous European news articles, reports, action programs and annexes from the EU, and an article from Belarusian state media. The case study indicates that the EU has reacted and been involved in support of civil society in Belarus during the mass protests, both through indirect and direct linkage approaches. It is not clear if the reactions from the EU derives from their own agenda to support civil society in the quest for democratization or if active human rights organizations have pushed external actors, such as the EU to act. The EU’s measures have not been strong enough to change Belarus’s negative spiral of becoming more authoritarian.