Brussels, Belgium – In an effort to reinvigorate commitment to democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and regional partners are gathering in Brussels today to launch a Declaration asserting the crucial role of democratic values and free market principles in the region. The Declaration, written by local civil society and business representatives, is based on research and analysis of the challenges facing the region and citizen concerns.
“This Declaration lays the groundwork for future local level advocacy that will reassert the primacy of liberal democracy and the role of civil society and the private sector in its development,” CIPE’s Managing Director, Andrew Wilson, said today. “We see groups signing this declaration on both sides of the Atlantic to create a truly trans-Atlantic dialogue on the roles of markets and democracy.”
As the countries of Central and Eastern Europe embarked on a program of ambitious democratic and market reforms at the end of the 20th century, there was much optimism about building a stronger, more united and freer Europe. But in recent years, doubts have arisen about the region’s direction, in the face of ongoing governance challenges.
In response, with the support of CIPE, civil society representatives and members of the business community from across Central and Eastern Europe have come together to reactivate networks of reformers, reinvigorate the region’s democratic trajectory, and reaffirm the importance of trans-Atlantic ties for Europe’s future.
The Declaration includes a commitment to take concrete steps to address the key democratic challenges of the countries in the region and calls on citizens to become more active participants in their societies. Citizens can sign the Declaration online at www.democracyontheline.org.
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Private Enterprise is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy and an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Visit www.cipe.org for more information on CIPE programming.