The article takes stock of the existing theoretical literature on external Europeani ation. It adopts a comparative perspective between candidate and neighbourhood countries, while at the same time contrasting the patterns of external and internal Europeanization. The focus is on basic mechanisms of external Europeanization a conditionality and socialization and their principal determinants in light of, respectively, rational choice and sociological institutionalism. Moreover, the article reflects on effects of external Europeanization, including paradoxes or pathologies of Europeanization in terms of transformation or consolidation of the hybrid semi-authoritarian political regimes. Finally, it points out to the limited explanatory value of the conditionzality mechanism, the potential of the sociali ation approach within the transnational network analysis, as well as to the key role of local elitesé impact on the effectiveness of EU rule transfer.