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Building civil society and democracy East of the Elbe: Problems and Prospects

Publiceringsår: 2006
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Building Democracy and Civil Society East of the Elbe. Essays in honour of Edmund Mokrzycki
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Routledge


‘Transition’ was a concept used to denote that the former communist states in Europe were on the track towards establishment of a market economy in the wake of the collapsed planned economy. Another connotation of the concept was democracy – or democratisation – and a third, which was introduced when it became obvious that institutions were important for the transition to succeed, the Rechtsstaat, translated into English as the legal state or a state of law. The transition period proper lasted from early 1989, when the Round Table talks between the government and the opposition started in Poland, to late 2002, when the European Union decided to offer the Baltic and Central European states full membership in the Union.

The expansion of the European Union from the Elbe to the Bug is a fulfilment of the project to create a peaceful Europe, which was attempted in Paris in 1919-1920 and, as far as Western Europe was concerned, by the establishment of the EEC in 1958. Speaking in historical terms, the latter was a second Locarno. The original one in 1925 was Germany’s recognition of the boundaries with France and Belgium. It was not followed by a similar agreement with Poland concerning its boundary with Germany. However, the eastern expansion of the European Union amounts to a “Locarno” for Central Europe. 1989 was not the final year of the short twentieth century, which began in 1914 with the outbreak of the Great War. 2004 will be the final year, when the three Baltic and the five Central European states become members of the European Union. The prospects for democracy and civil society in Europe east of the Elbe are identical with the prospects for democracy and civil society in the European Union.


  • History
  • Poland
  • democratisation
  • transition
  • Adam Michnik
  • George Soros
  • civil society
  • European Union



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