July 14, 2011, 3:34 p.m.
In the paper, The New Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the International Democracy Support, Tsveta Petrova shows that many Central and Eastern European countries new to democracy are working to promote democracy among other countries in their region. These efforts are often inconsistent, ad hoc, and provide minimal financial support but they have the benefit of understanding the challenges on the ground from a firsthand experience. The main countries within the Eastern European members of the EU who have made consistent efforts are the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. These countries have used their membership in Euro-Atlantic organizations to keep an international focus on promoting democracy within the former Soviet Union and Western Balkans despite a lack of progress being seen. However, it is important to be aware that when promoting democracy among their neighbors comes into conflict with economic or political goals, the latter takes precedence.
(T)hese countries have very recent, in fact ongoing experience with democratization that gives them valuable expertise and perspectives that other donors do not have, and therefore special credibility in the eyes of recipients. They also tend to tailor their efforts to the needs of their recipients and work primarily in their neighborhood, where they have considerable knowledge of local sociopolitical realities and where their own experiences are highly relevant.
Of all the best practices they can share, the Eastern European democracy promoters have tended to tailor their efforts to the democratization needs of the individual recipients. They have also tended to work in their neighborhood and especially in countries with which they have historical and political ties.