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Geopolitics, Democratic Reform and Resilience in Central and Eastern Europe

This colloquium is being renewed at the end of this year.

This colloquium started in 2011 and continues the activities that began with the Panel on “The Future of EU external governance: Comparing experiences in Central and Eastern Europe” at the NIG conference 2010 in Maastricht. We aim to focus on exploring and reflecting on the politics and governance of administrative reform in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

The colloquium provides a space to explore the factors affecting the effectiveness and sustainability of the democratization process and public administration reforms in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as well as in the relationship between the EU and its neighbors during the past decades. We aim specifically at comparing the impact of the EU and the New Member States (NMS), on countries constituting the new neighborhood of the European Union, and other countries in the Union’s vicinity, which have not been offered the prospect of EU membership. Whereas enlargement is generally seen as the EU’s most effective and successful foreign policy for the promotion of democracy, the Union’s efforts to impact on political reforms in the neighborhood through the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) have yielded mixed effects to date.

Reform, restructuring, change are all difficult processes which have an extended impact upon societies, governments and citizens alike. Complex situations and decisions emerge, particularly when these processes overlap with an economic and financial crisis of the magnitude of which the world has known in the recent years. The turbulence of the broad socio-economic context raises more issues regarding the development and sustainability of democratization and administrative reforms.

The colloquium has two main goals:

  • The first objective is to develop and consolidate an extended network of NIG scholars with a research interest in the politics and governance of administrative reform in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) more broadly, and to bring together scholarship from different disciplines (EU Studies/ International Relations, Sociology, Public Policy and Public Administration) to develop new insights into the conceptual and empirical interplay of internal and external factors in influencing the governance of political and administrative reforms in the target region.
  • The second objective is to consolidate the research network and to develop a common research agenda leading towards joint research activities.
  • Organized panels at each NIG Annual Conference since the colloquium was formed;

  • Developed a network of NIG scholars (senior and junior) working on political and administrative reform in CEE and EaP;

  • Organized a workshop in May 2013 in Maastricht.

The colloquium contributes to the theme of ‘Public management’, by focussing on the EU’s efforts to promote public sector reforms in CEE and ENP partner countries. ‘Good governance’ is one of the leading EU principle in its efforts to promote political and administrative reforms in Central and Eastern Europe. The administrations in CEE, however, have different approaches regarding the implementation of the EU’s rules for high quality public management. By focusing on the different mechanisms through which these rules can be transferred, negotiated, and implemented, both vertically as well as horizontally, we aim to explore and analyse new approaches aimed to improve the quality of public management in CEE and ENP countries.

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Maastricht University


University of Twente