New publication about democracy assistance policies of the Visegrad Four countries

Jeff Lovitt, Executive Director of PASOS (Policy Association for an Open Society) and Grigorij Mesežnikov, President of the Institute for Public Affairs, presented the new book Democracy's New Champions. European Democracy Assistance after EU Enlargement at the press conference in Bratislava, 3 November 2008.

Democracy's New Champions. European Democracy Assistance after EU Enlargement
is a ground-breaking new PASOS study by four leading Central European think-tanks into the democracy assistance policies, spending, and geographical priorities of the Visegrad Four countries. The publication provides an analysis of the record of four of Europe's new democracies in sharing their transition experience to promote democracy abroad and in keeping democracy promotion on the European political agenda.

The Visegrad Four countries are potentially key actors in helping neighboring countries with the process of democratization and European integration, and in assisting to foster greater freedom of association, respect for human rights, and democratization. The research in Democracy's New Champions includes an assessment of the Visegrad Four countries' democracy assistance policies and practice towards four target countries, namely Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, and Ukraine.

Edited by Jacek Kucharczyk, Research Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, Poland, and Jeff Lovitt, Executive Director of PASOS (Policy Association for an Open Society), the project involved four leading think-tanks - EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Czech Republic, Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University, Hungary, the Institute of Public Affairs, Poland, and the Institute for Public Affairs, Slovakia. All four policy centres are members of the PASOS network, while the research in Ukraine was co-ordinated by researchers from the International Centre for Policy Studies, also a PASOS member. Authors are Jacek Kucharczyk, Jeff Lovitt, Grigorij Mesežnikov, Áron Horváth, Vladimír Bartovic, Piotr Kaźmierkiewicz, Věra Řiháčková, Marian Kowalski, Sanida Kikić, Francesco Guarascio, Natalia Shapovalova and Olga Shumylo.

Democracy's New Champions
emerged from the PASOS project, “Evaluation of the Democracy Assistance Policies and Priorities of the Visegrad Four countries”, which compares the democracy assistance priorities of the Visegrad countries, and puts their policies and priorities in perspective in the context of EU democracy assistance efforts. Two additional policy briefs, New Kids on the Block - Can the Visegrad Four emerge as effective players in international democracy assistance? and Is the EU ready to put democracy assistance at the heart of European foreign policy? also emerged from the project.

The project was supported by the International Visegrad Fund, the Open Society Institute Think-Tank Fund, and the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI) of the Open Society Institute.

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