In its discourse the EU places democracy and the rule of law as number one. This study by CEPS fellows Michael Emerson, Senem Aydin, Gergana Noutcheva, Nathalie Tocci, Marius Vahl and Richard Youngs is the most comprehensive analysis so far of how far the EU is a coherent actor in pursuing this goal in practice, especially in its wider neighbourhood, with case studies covering the Balkans, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, Maghreb and Israel-Palestine. In the enlargement process the EU has worked powerfully as promoter of democracy both through its gravitational attraction and explicit political conditionality. In the foreign policy sphere a whole set of institutional and historical inhibitions, and partly conflicting priorities muffle the outcome for democracy promotion. Recent developments see fresh momentum to the democratic transition both to the east and south, with apparent contagion of ideas and revolutionary behaviour, reminiscent even of some of the major historical episodes in the evolution of political liberalism in the European continent.