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As an interdisciplinary, participatory, cross-regional social sciences-based research project, EMBRACE stands at the nexus between fundamental research and practical application. EMBRACE’s combined aim is to advance evidence-based knowledge on blockages in democratisation and ways to overcome them beyond the state of the art while strengthening the capacity of policy-makers and local stakeholders to advance democratisation in the European neighbourhood.

Six stakeholder committees, comprised of policy-makers and other actors from the EU and the five study regions, monitor and advise the entire research process, ensuring that both EU and local needs and narratives are considered.

Innovative policy and practical tools and a knowledge exchange network will be developed to support pro-democracy actors at all levels (national, regional, cross-regional and supranational). Cross-country knowledge exchange and mutual learning will increase the capacity of policy-makers and stakeholders to identify, prevent or at least deal constructively with blockages to democratisation once they have emerged. In addition to various policy documents providing targeted recommendations for improved practices, training modules will be developed, tested, and made available via an online platform for stakeholder engagement, containing translated material in different languages. Towards the final stages of EMBRACE, results will be disseminated via various academic, practitioner and policy networks.

With all this, EMBRACE will provide a critical pathway to the expected impact of reinvigorating democratic governance “by improving the accountability, transparency, effectiveness and trustworthiness of rule-of-law based institutions and policies, and through the expansion of active and inclusive citizenship empowered by the safeguarding of fundamental rights” (Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2021-2024).

Planned results: Various policy documents providing targeted recommendations for improved practices