Across Europe and Eurasia, sharp distinctions have emerged between countries striving to make progress on democratic and economic reform, and those marked by anti-democratic tendencies. In countries with closing democratic space, CIPE works with its partners to use economic and business issues as a wedge to encourage dialogue and debate where other organizations lack the ability to operate. In countries that are seeking to strengthen democracy, CIPE is supporting efforts to overcome challenges to enacting and implementing comprehensive reforms at the national, regional, and local levels.

Around the region, CIPE works in a variety of ways with partners in the private sector, civil society, and government to ensure citizens are informed, to articulate reform priorities, to advocate for meaningful change, to pass and implement new laws; and to monitor implementation of reforms.

Program Results & Impact

  • Ukraine: In 2015, with significant SME input, four draft laws were developed and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament. These laws are designed to eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens for SMEs, simplify tax procedures, improve access to justice for businesses, and better regulate claims filed by businesses. Further, in collaboration with the National Business Platform, a national coalition of associations, CIPE designed a web portal to convene online policy discussions, as well as to provide economic and business news, information about advocacy campaigns, and training materials. The portal allows business leaders to assess, comment on, and vote on draft proposals for policy changes. The portal has had over 60,000 unique visitors this year.

    CIPE is also working with Ukraine’s chambers of commerce to reform and build their organizations through training seminars on strategic planning, project management, fundraising, policy analysis, and legislative drafting. The country’s national Chamber has begun to evolve as a voice for reform, working with its regional branches to develop a 2016-2020 strategy document. In these ways, CIPE and its partners are building momentum for lasting democratic change in Ukraine, by strengthening institutions to enhance the rule of law, level the playing field for small business, root out corruption, and build a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  • Moldova: The National Business Agenda (NBA) Network has become well-known in Moldova for advancing public-private dialogue on economic reform, and for enhancing cooperation among civil society, the business community, and government. The NBA Network has an impressive track record, for example spearheading a new national SME strategy with the Ministry of Economy. In 2015, Moldova’s government took concrete steps towards adopting over 50 percent of the NBA Network’s policy proposals, including initiatives to lower the cost of doing business and restructure the country’s technical and vocational universities to teach skills needed by the private sector. CIPE and the NBA Network have also institutionalized a way for citizens to provide input on important national debates, through so-called “public hearings,” where average Moldovans, civil society leaders, academics, entrepreneurs, and journalists can discuss issues with government officials, helping shape policy choices.

    Recently, the NBA Network further strengthened its position as the country’s unified voice of the private sector by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Moldovan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to develop local-level business agendas – a type of policy reform roadmap – in ten Moldovan regions.

Read more about CIPE's programs in Eurasia.

Publication by Region

Democratic and Market Values Face Obstacles in Poland

Article at a Glance:

  • When the socially conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to majority power in Poland in 2015, it was the country’s first single-party or non-coalition government since the fall of Communism.
  • The biggest threat to democracy is the ongoing Constitutional Court crisis, which challenges the independence of the judiciary.
  • Democratic backsliding has manifested itself in waning confidence in the judiciary, state capture of public media, xenophobia and economic opportunism, and a crackdown on civil society and non-governmental organizations.

Declaration of Commitment to Liberty and Prosperity in Central and Eastern Europe

As the countries of Central and Eastern Europe embarked on a program of ambitious democratic and market reforms at the

Democratic Backsliding in Bulgaria

Article at a Glance:

  • Since 2013, Bulgaria has been in a period of severe political instability and has seen an erosion of democracy, which poses great challenges to the future development of the country.
  • The biggest threat to democracy and free enterprise in Bulgaria is the dysfunctional judicial system directly related to widespread corruption issues
  • Democratic backsliding in Bulgaria has manifested itself in state capture, a dependent media, xenophobia, and opportunistic economic policies


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