CE41 - Inégalités, discriminations, migrations

Inequalities and Democratic Participation in the European Union’s Neighbourhood – INTEND

Submission summary

Wider research context
Understanding how citizens can contribute to solving problems related to different forms of inequality is one of the most demanding questions of our time. INTEND aims to assess how participation in the policy process transforms civil society and how civil society responds to, and influences public policies that deal with inequalities.
This question has increasingly gained salience in the European Union (EU)’s neighbourhood as a result of both domestic and external pressure, including from the EU as part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The project investigates civil society’s roles and practices in the design and implementation of EU-related domestic policies targeting economic, social, cultural or territorial inequalities in Eastern Europe and the Southern Mediterranean.
Building on research in European Studies and comparative political science, INTEND has three main research objectives: 1) to identify the degree and scope of civil society participation in the policy process in hybrid regimes, 2) to understand the effects of participation on civil society organisations’ (CSOs) values, strategies and resources, and 3) to investigate how and to what extent can CSOs influence domestic policymaking and implementation related to the EU/ENP.
In order to achieve these objectives, INTEND develops a bottom-up research design centred on CSOs’ perceptions, narratives and micro-practices. It combines quantitative and qualitative research methods. The former involves a large-scale organisational survey of CSOs in 12 countries in Eastern Europe/the Southern Mediterranean). The latter involve 12 in-depth qualitative case studies in four countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Morocco and Tunisia) and three policy fields (migration, environment and food safety) that are related to different (economic, social, cultural and territorial) forms of inequality.

Level of originality / innovation
INTEND offers the first comprehensive, comparative and in-depth investigation of civil society’s narratives, roles and practices in policy formulation and implementation in a non-EU context. The project makes three contributions. Analytically, it develops an agency-centred approach that decentres the EU’s influence and places local civil societies at the core of its analysis. Conceptually, it offers new insights into functions performed by civil society in hybrid regimes. Empirically, it generates a wealth of new data that provides a solid basis for a comparative investigation between two different regions (the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe/South Caucasus), across countries and policy fields.

Expected impact
INTEND will be of benefit to three scholarly communities: EU studies, political science and comparative area studies. First, it will advance the literature on the EU’s influence beyond its borders by providing new insights on constellations of EU and local actors involved in policy-making. It will also generate new material allowing for comparisons across the EU’s neighbourhood. Second, the project will contribute to the political science literature on civic participation and the mobilisation of interest groups in decision-making. By combining quantitative and qualitative research methods, it will provide both systematic and in-depth examination on CSOs’ involvement in the policy process. Third, the project will engage with ongoing research in Eastern European/South Mediterranean studies against the backdrop of theoretical debates on the role of civil society in hybrid regimes.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


BOKU Universität für Bodenkunde

Help of the ANR 537,201 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2022 - 42 Months

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