Eastern Europe Publications

343. Bulgaria's First Year in the European Union: Progress, Problems and Pessimism

Jul 07, 2011
December 2007 - Western attention in Southeastern Europe is focused on Kosovo, Bosnia and the surrounding Western Balkans. But, I ask that some attention also be paid to neighboring Bulgaria. This core state of the historical Ottoman Balkans is completing its first year as a member of the European Union and its fourth year as a member of NATO. I resist the temptation of dwelling on how unlikely this prospect seemed when I first went to Sofia as a young Foreign Service Officer some 40 years ago. Now, with the same special interest in wider economic prospects and the same domestic pessimism about its own political process that has repeatedly surfaced over the past century, Bulgarians should nonetheless be looking back with satisfaction on their initial year as a full member of the largest common organization in European history. On a personal level, a Bulgarian friend traveling to Italy welcomed the smile and a wave that replaced a scowl and a Schengen visa check at the Rome airport. Some 60 percent of Bulgaria's foreign trade is now with the EU, and as a new member, it is expecting 11 billion euros of adjustment assistance over the next six years. But before turning to the clouds that I found gathering over Sofia, let me first address the silver lining. more

142. The Enlargement of NATO and Central European Politics

Jul 07, 2011
October 1997 - The expansion of NATO is nothing new. NATO has enlarged itself several times in the past, most recently absorbing the G.D.R. (through the back door of the G.D.R.'s incorporation into one Germany). But the currently envisioned expansion is different from previous ones: this enlargement is primarily politically motivated and it is about the future shape of Europe. The foremost political challenge on the continent after the Cold War is the integration into European organizations of the countries previously included in the Soviet bloc, and NATO has stepped up to this challenge as part of its transformation. If the NATO-Russia Council is successful and NATO's relations with Russia develop along a constructive path, then the alliance's eastward enlargement has the potential to accelerate the integration of Central European countries into a Euro-Atlantic community in a manner that erases the animosities that caused armed conflict in the past. more

"Ukraine and Its Western Neighbors"

Jul 07, 2011
December 2000 Conference Report - The conference program was designed to encourage discussion about Ukraine and its neighbors outside of the standard categories for considering this important region. First, the presentations framed Ukraine almost exclusively in terms of its neighbors to its west; and second, the speakers explored Ukraine's relations with its neighbors at a number of different levels and not just as a problem of state-to-state relations. The conference participants attempted to engage a wider audience to think about Ukraine first and foremost within the context of Europe by adding texture and substance to discussions of cross-border relations. Second, the conference's discussion of Ukraine was predicated on the notion that Ukraine exists in numerous realities, only one of which is that of the state. more

296. The Return of Nationalists in Serbia and Croatia: Is Democracy Threatened?

Jul 07, 2011
May 2004 - Seemingly discredited just a few short years ago, the nationalist parties that were the main perpetrators of war, undemocratic politics and economic mismanagement in the former Yugoslavia's two largest successor states have made an electoral comeback after several years of rule by reformist, pro-Western coalitions. In Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ-Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), which held a virtual monopoly on political power throughout the 1990s, won the largest number of seats (43 percent) in the November 2003 parliamentary elections and became the governing party in a four-party coalition and Ivo Sanader, the HDZ leader, became prime minister. The far-right Croatian Party of Rights (HSP-Hrvatska Stranka Prava) doubled its representation in parliament from four to eight seats, but did not join the ruling coalition. In the Serbian parliamentary election of December 2003, the top vote- and seat-getter (32 percent of parliamentary seats) was the Serbian Radical Party (Srpska Radikalna Stranka—SRS) of Vojislav Seselj, currently detained in the Netherlands for war crimes. The SRS, albeit never the ruling party in Serbia, had played a key role as the ideological surrogate of Slobodan Milosevic and the former ruling Serbian Socialist Party (SPS-Srpska Partija Socjalisticka). Besides helping Milosevic solidify his nationalist credentials, the SRS also performed some of the former regime's dirty work by organizing paramilitaries to fight in Croatia and Bosnia. The SPS itself managed to win only 22 seats in the December 2003 election. Both Seselj and Milosevic topped their parties' lists and were elected in absentia. Despite its strong showing in the election, however, the SRS did not form a government, a task that was undertaken by a group of democratically-minded parties led by the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS-Demokratska Stranka Srbije) of Vojislav Kostunica, who decided, to the great dismay of Western diplomats, to seek nominal support of Milosevic's Socialists for his government. These developments (along with the fact that nationalist parties prevailed in 2002 federal elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina) could lead some observers to find a resurgent nationalism throughout the Balkans. more

68. NATO as a Factor of Security Community Building: Enlargement and Democratization in Central and Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
This research project is motivated by a double empirical puzzle underlying the implications of NATO enlargement for the process of security community formation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). First, the development of institutional relationships between NATO and most of the former communist countries has led to ambiguous results in terms of reducing sources of political tension and military conflict (i.e., positive, in the case of Romania and Hungary or Hungary and Slovakia; inconclusive for Armenia and Azerbaijan; and negative for Belarus). Second, despite their relatively similar, constant and strong support for NATO membership, the countries of the region have demonstrated curious policy discrepancies, especially in contrast with the vast majority of long-term NATO members, when faced with the option of assisting certain NATO operations (i.e., the1999 military intervention in Kosovo). Accordingly, while the first empirical anomaly calls attention to possible NATO institutional effects, the second one hints to its potential normative influences. more

210. Twenty Years After Solidarity: The State of Democracy in the Post- Communist World

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - In his opening remarks, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined three categories of democracy: functioning, malfunctioning, and fictitious. Functioning democracies are characterized by political and economic pluralism. Poland represents one of the most successful "functioning democracies" in the post-communist world. Malfunctioning democracies, such as many former Soviet states today, may aspire to democracy, but are crippled by legacies of the communist past. In fictitious democracies, the organs of the Communist Party remain but the regime pursues limited, reformist economic and social policies, such as in China. Brzezinski also pointed out that wide-scale, growing poverty impedes the movement toward democracy in many post-communist countries. more

280. The European Union, the Balkans and Turkey: Can "Soft Power" Bring Stability and Democracy

Jul 07, 2011
October 2003 - The European Union (EU) is widely recognized as the international actor with the most potential influence in promoting ethnic reconciliation, shoring up democracy and supporting the economic revitalization of the Balkans. The EU's influence is immediate—providing humanitarian aid, economic assistance, market access and political support. It is also long-term—shaping the tenor of domestic politics by offering the prospect of EU membership. The prospect of EU membership may be more diffuse, but it is ultimately more powerful. It provides substantial and consistent incentives for political moderation and reform on the part of elites in the Balkans and also in Turkey. The World Bank's 2001 report noted that its strategy for the region is "built upon the assumption that a credible commitment to integration with European and global structures, especially the European Union, is a critical ingredient of success, as it will serve as an external driver of reform and intra-regional integration." more

"NATO Enlargement and Peacekeeping: Journeys to Where?"

Jul 07, 2011
April 2001 Conference Report - Given the importance of the twin challenges - the MAP and NATO enlargement as well as the future of peacekeeping in the Balkans - not only for NATO but for all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the East European Studies Program (EES) at the Woodrow Wilson Center organized substantial seminars on each of these issues in late 2000 and early 2001. Participants in each of these seminars included both experts in residence at the Wilson Center and pre-eminent scholars in the field, all of whom shared important insights and perspectives on these two timely and pivotal issues. more

53. Do Legacies Matter? Patterns of Postcommunist Transitions in Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
In this paper, the author examines the initial outcomes of post-1989 transformations in countries outside the former Soviet Union. He identifies the patterns of transformation emerging in the region and proposes some tentative ideas that help to account for disparities in initial outcomes of these transformations. more

194. A Closer Look at the Slovak NGO Community

Jul 07, 2011
The unexpected and impressive growth and development of the Slovak non-governmental organization (NGO) community, which has simply mushroomed over the past few years, stems from a rather unique situation. Paradoxically, it was the very policies of the former Vladimir Meciar-led government, ousted from power through democratic elections in 1998 and dubbed by the West as isolationist, nationalist and, in general, domestically repressive, that are responsible for the breadth and strength of the NGO community . And this has happened in a place which until recently, with the exception of Yugoslavia, was the least likely to promote such healthy civic democratic growth. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.