The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a recently established instrument of democracy promotion intended to complement existing EU tools. Fashioned after the US National Endowment for Democracy, the EED's privileged area of action is the European neighbourhood. Meant as a small rapid-response, actor-oriented 'niche' initiative, its main task is to select those actors, from both civil and political society able to produce a change in their country. The EED represents a step forward in the EU's capacity to foster democracy, but does not necessarily go in the direction of more rationality and effectiveness. Not all EU member states support the EED with the same enthusiasm and it is still not clear how it fits into the EU's overall democracy promotion architecture. Its actions may be successful in a very constrained timeframe. However, recent crises at the EU's borders would seem to call for a strategy that takes into consideration systemic hindrances, post-regime change complexities, regional dynamics and finally rival plans of autocracy promotion.
Keywords: EU, EED, democracy promotion, neighbourhood