In This Review

Europe’s Burden: Promoting Good Governance Across Borders
Europe’s Burden: Promoting Good Governance Across Borders
By Alina Mungiu-Pippidi
Cambridge University Press, 2019, 344 pp

European countries are unparalleled in their use of economic, cultural, legal, and other tools to peacefully project influence abroad. But critics often charge that Europeans do not do enough to raise standards of governance elsewhere—particularly in their own neighborhood. In this wide-ranging book, a political scientist argues that European efforts to use nonmilitary means to promote the rule of law and good governance outside the EU—in particular, to quash corruption—have not been hugely successful. She cites examples from a dozen countries from Egypt to Moldova. Yet one wonders if such criticism, backed by calls for a more “comprehensive” anticorruption policy, hold the EU to an unrealistic standard. After all, few efforts to promote democracy and good government are successful. It seems incontrovertible that EU investment, trade, and diplomatic support made all the difference in at least three recent cases. Without such aid, Ukraine would almost certainly have collapsed, Kosovo would be dysfunctional, and Tunisia would have made less progress than it has. Perhaps Europeans should be more modest, as many development analysts counsel, and learn to accept “good enough” governance