About this event

Cities provide the most fertile breeding ground for democratic attitudes in Central and Eastern Europe. As environments of progressive, cosmopolitan ideas and values, cities are crucial enablers of electoral success for opposition parties that stand up to autocratic national regimes. This kind of dealignment between the political preferences expressed at the national level and in large cities has become clearly visible in recent years, especially in countries with illiberal tendencies such as Hungary or Poland.

Cities have also been at the forefront during the coronavirus pandemic in terms of capabilities and vulnerabilities. While Central and Eastern Europe provides numerous benchmark examples of how local governments, civil society, and private companies have worked together to tackle the crisis, it also shows how national governments have taken advantage of the situation by re-centralizing attributions and resources. It is therefore more important than ever before that cities in the region have proper institutional and economic instruments as an integral part of rule of law and democratic accountability.

How could better cooperation between cities and local civil society strengthen democratic resilience in Central and Eastern Europe? How could cities’ improving fiscal sustainability and autonomy contribute to democratic accountability? And what opportunities for capacity building are harboured in international city networks and other policy learning instruments for the cities of Central and Eastern Europe?

The German Marshall Fund of the United States is pleased to invite you to the presentation and discussion of a new policy paper that examines the above key questions. This event is part of the ReThink.CEE Fellowship, which was established by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in 2018. As Central and Eastern Europe faces mounting challenges to its democracy, security, and prosperity, the ReThink.CEE Fellowship supports next-generation thinkers and activists to conduct original policy research, to offer fresh thinking and perspectives, and to shape effective responses by the transatlantic community.

If you have any questions, please contact Alevtina Snihir at [email protected].