European Stability Initiative (ESI) is a site where you can find reports on South Eastern Europe and European enlargement Policy. Recent projects are about the situation in Turkey and EU policy on Visa-Free Travel for the Western Balkan.
When spending money on the promotion of democracy, politicians like to have hard evidence that they will actually get their money’s worth. ‘Evidence-based’ is the magic word these days. Obviously, gun-slinging yields more clear-cut results in the short run than encouraging people to change their citizenship education curriculum. A lack of quantifiable results should not be equated automatically with total inadequacy however. The positive results of the Iraq invasion are undeniable – Saddam Hussain is irrefutably no longer in power – but they are also rather limited as yet. In comparison, the money the West invested in civic education in the Ukraine was arguably far more cost-effective, although it is close to impossible to establish any direct causal connection with the Orange revolution. In this issue we will explore what soft (and less soft) evidence might be able to teach us with respect to foreign democracy promotion, ‘European citizenship’ (whatever that might be) and the power of education. Hard evidence often creates a false sense of security. Personally I’d say we might as well grow soft.
Krijn Peter Hesselink, Instituut voor Publiek en Politiek, Amsterdam
After the ‘electoral revolutions’ in Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004), the civic youth movements that were in the frontline of the successful democratic revolutions received full attention. Representatives of OTPOR! (Serbia), PORA! (Ukraine), KMARA (Georgia), Yox (Azerbaijan), Zubr (Belarus) and activists from various organisations from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation were therefore invited to the Netherlands to talk about their long and painful struggle, their successes and their failures in Wave of Resistance, an event organised by the Alfred Mozer Stichting, De Balie and the NGIZ. In Amsterdam, they met representatives of political parties, universities, NGOs and political foundations and debated about their similarities, differences, allies and enemies, past, present and future. Three hundred people were present on 14 May 2005 to share their experience and trigger them with arguments and questions.
On 1 November 2000, the Mershon Center was awarded a two-year contract from the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the conduct of the project ‘Education for Democracy in Ukraine’. This project was part of the Transatlantic Civil Society Support Program for Ukrainian Civic Education, a joint effort of the European Union and the United States. The program activities were planned in accordance with CIVITAS International and drew upon Mershon’s prior collaboration with the Center for Citizenship Education, Warsaw (CCEW) and the success that they have achieved together in promoting civic education in Poland.
‘The ENP [European Neighbourhood Policy] strategy paper states that under the present situation in the country – which is by all means deteriorating – it is not yet possible to offer the full benefits of the ENP to Belarus.’ The ENP is developed to strengthen ‘stability, security and well-being for all concerned, and hence prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours.’ It is not as ambitious as to aim at instant democratisation of the neighbouring countries of the European Union. However, a will to evolve in a liberal-democratic direction is required for participation, since cooperation should be ‘based on common values.’ With Israel, Jordan, Moldova, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Ukraine intensive cooperation within the ENP-framework is already in the making. Only Libya and Belarus do not fulfil the basic requirements to start negotiations. Alternative policies are tailored to the situations in these autocracies.
In the aftermath of the referendum on the Constitutional Treaty in the Netherlands, people all around the European continent seemed baffled by the outcome. How was it possible that the citizens of one of the founding countries of the European Union - one might even say a country that had always been considered a model of compliance with European integration – rejected the ‘Constitution’? Even more unsettling perhaps than the mere refusal by the electorate was the turnout, which proved substantially higher than during the elections for the European Parliament the previous year. Not only did the Dutch turn the proposition at hand down, they did so in large numbers. Who is to blame (or should be praised if you like) for the outcome?
Could a book on ‘the political socialization of Israeli and Palestinian youngsters’ have any relevance for European citizenship educators? Absolutely. Orit Ichilov proved it in 2004 with the publication of Political Learning and Citizenship Education under Conflict. Despite the many obvious differences between Europe and Israel, there is much to be learned from a region that is in many respects much more explosive than our own.
European citizenship is a good example of a concept that is being used continually without a clear consensus on what it might or should actually constitute. Is European citizenship merely about feeling involved in what happens in the rest of Europe, just like claiming to be a world citizen merely means you care about what happens on the other side of the globe? Or is there more to it? Maybe the concept of European citizenship should be given some real legal weight. This is just what Fiorella Dell'Olio argues for in her recent book The Europeanization of Citizenship.
In anticipation of the 2005 elections, and inspired by the positive experience of the Dutch StemWijzer, the European VoteMatch and the German Wahl-O-Mat, the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS) decided to implement a web-based test for political positions in Bulgaria.