Europe Moves Eastward: Consolidating Free Government in the New EU

Issue Date January 2004
Volume 15
Issue 1
Page Numbers 32-47
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The European Union has played a crucial role in the process of democratic consolidation in new democracies in Eastern Europe. The promise of membership has encouraged political moderation. Efforts to meet the EU’s membership criteria have significantly accelerated the modernization of institutions, the introduction of the rule of law, and the building of a transparent market economy. Even debates in candidate countries about the EU’s “democratic deficit” have been helpful with regard to understanding democracy. However, the EU’s role notwithstanding, internalizing democratic values values will take some time in societies deeply marked by decades of communist rule.

About the Author

Jiri Pehe is director of New York University in Prague and a political commentator. He formerly served as political advisor to Czech president Václav Havel and as director of Central European Research at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

View all work by Jiri Pehe