6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Democracy Promotion in Times of Austerity: Lessons from Central and Eastern Europe

Can the democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe in the past twenty years be instructive? How has the current economic crisis in Europe impacted democratization on the Western Balkans?

By comparing various successful approaches towards promoting democracy in the CEE region, Pavol Demes, transatlantic academy fellow at the German Marshall Fund, derives conclusions about the challenges that new democracies in the Middle East, as well as the former Soviet space may face. 

Profound socio-political transformation in CEE countries allowed them to become more open to joining Western structures. In comparison, Demes will take a look at the democratization efforts in the Western Balkans, the former Soviet Republics, and more recently in post-Arab spring MENA region, and focus on the challenges democracy promoters today must face in the context of an economic climate that poses increasing demand for austerity measures.

Pavol Demes is an internationally recognized NGO leader based in Bratislava, Slovakia.  After democratic changes in 1989 he entered public life and served in several governmental positions. He was also foreign minister. He assisted with democratic reforms in several post-communist countries and was awarded numerous awards. Since 2000 until September 2010 he was the Director for Central and Eastern Europe of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Now he is Senior Transatlantic Fellow with GMF US.