41. Western Aid to Eastern Europe: What We Are Doing Right, What We Are Doing Wrong, How We Can Do It Better
Despite the need to confront these differences, there has been little directed and open exchange among the donors and recipients involved at various stages of the aid chain. The conference that this paper summarizes was conceived to help rectify the aid situation in Eastern Europe by bringing Western policymakers, practitioners, and analysts together with recipient aid coordination officials and analysts. The goal of the conference entitled, "Western Aid to Central and Eastern Europe: What We Are Doing Right, What We Are Doing Wrong, How We Can Do It Better," was to create a problem-focused atmosphere conducive to informal exchange.
Transforming external regimes has proven to be one of the most problematic aspects of the economic transition in the former Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) countries. These difficulties result both from internal factors such as the all too frequent failure of macroeconomic stabilization programs and from external factors such as the collapse of Soviet-era multinational integration mechanisms. This paper analyzes how, at the macroeconomic level, large declines in regional trade flows during 1990-93 have reinforced the macroeconomic perturbations buffeting the post-Communist economies, while at the microeconomic level, difficulties encountered in sustaining trade liberalization and making currencies more convertible have weakened demonopolizing tendencies and hurt prospects for integration into the international economy.
European Studies Senior Associate Nida Gelazis was recently quoted in the Italian on-line newspaper Affaritaliani assessing the benefits of European enlargement in the Western Balkans. In an article by Massimiliano Santalucia titled "The Balkan countries break into Europe. Montenegro and Serbia in the EU Soon," Gelazis discussed the pros and cons of admitting the former Yugoslav countries to the EU.
This month, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts the fourth annual Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture. Previous awardees include Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian democracy activist, and Belarusian democracy activist Anatoli Mikhailov, president of the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Once again, NATO has been drawn into the search for the least bad solution in the Balkans. This time the crisis has surfaced in Kosovo, the province that, ten years ago, seemed to be the most dangerous ethnic flashpoint in what was then Yugoslavia. For the Serbs, Kosovo is politically and religiously attached to Serbia. For the Albanians, Kosova is demographically dominated by Kosovar Albanians and geographically contiguous with northern Albania. Today, both sides are armed, dangerous, and likely to keep fighting without an international agreement. Even with an accord, they are more menacing to the proposed NATO peacekeeping force than were the war-weary local forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995.
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism.