Central-East European transitions ‘could be reversed’


CEE PETROVAThe experiences of Hungary and of other Central and Eastern European countries show that it is the citizens who can make or undo the transformation of their societies, regardless of which party is in power, and of whether or not a country is a member of the EU, writes Carnegie Europe analyst Judy Dempsey.

Tired of appalling governance and persistent lip service to reforms, but also exposed to functioning market economies and democracies elsewhere, Romanian citizens voted for change, she notes:

Since then, with Iohannis at the helm, Prime Minister Victor Ponta has suddenly embraced reform and anticorruption measures, issues that he had blithely ignored over the years. The judiciary and the courts are being overhauled. Sentences are being meted out to corrupt officials.

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, [a former Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy] and professor of democracy studies at the Hertie School of Governance, says it is still very early days. But there is some hope that the transformation has finally begun. 

Civil society movements are in despair. ….Without citizen power, change will not happen, and transformations will not be completed. Indeed, transitions could even be reversed, Dempsey warns.