Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2011

The New Role of Central and Eastern Europe in International Democracy Support

Tsveta Petrova

June 2011

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


The new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe are increasingly engaging in international democracy support, especially in the former Soviet Union and the Western Balkans. They have leveraged their membership in a number of Euro-Atlantic international organizations and used their bilateral diplomatic ties with democratization laggards to motivate and pressure them to observe democratic norms and practices. They have also been supplying small but growing amounts of democracy assistance. The democracy promotion efforts of these countries—countries that are still grappling with some domestic democracy issues of their own—have been limited in scope and inconsistent, ad hoc, and given a low priority at times. Still, these 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.