Democratisation and reform in SEE

posted by Julia on 2009/04/28 23:02

[ Western Balkans and EU ]

The latest newsletter of the "Development and Transition" platform (LSE + UNDP) focuses on democratisation in Central and (South) Eastern Europe - the pdf-version can be downloaded here. I found the interview with Thomas Carothers (who is very critical of Western democratisation efforts in (South) Eastern Europe) quite interesting - here some quotes: 


"we really don’t have the level of knowledge or influence to engineer transitions in a very sophisticated and ordered way. (...)  I do think the international community should lower its expectations and reduce its demands but I am resistant to the idea that we are so knowledgeable that we can sit down with a country and prescribe a well-ordered plan for a step-by-step political transition over a decade or two, in which we carefully blend in elections at just the right time." (...)

"When you look at the personal profile of interesting socio-political actors in Central and Eastern Europe, almost all of them were touched by the Western assistance in some way in that they participated in either educational opportunities, or NGO experience that allowed them to develop leadership skills or organizational knowledge that they gained from taking part—that I think was quite important." (...)

"The NGO assistance was based on a romantic idea of civil society as a virtuous socio-political sector or actor that was probably overdone and for which there were too high expectations. But nevertheless, it’s better that it was done than not done."

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