Democratic Consolidation: The International Dimension. Hungary, Poland and Spain

International Conference
September 25-26, 1998 in Vienna

Organized by: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (Laxenburg), Austrian Institute of East and South-East European Studies (Vienna) and its Branch Office Budapest, Political Academy/Modern Politics (Vienna), Austrian Historical Institute (Section Madrid), Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna


While research on external impacts on the erosion of authoritarian regimes and subsequent democratisation processes is numerous, a systematic evaluation of the international dimension of consolidating, developing and strengthening democracy in the post-communist countries of Europe after the initial removal of communist rule is still missing, especially in comparison with the role external factors played in the democratisations of Southern Europe. The confer-ence under discussion tries to break ground in this respect by comparing the external dimen-sion of the institutionalisation of democracy in three countries: Spain, Hungary, and Poland. The inter-regional approach to external factors on democratic consolidation, dealing with democratisation in different time settings, could make the conference particularly challenging.

In contrast to standard approaches in this context, which tend to address the impact of inter-national factors on the overall process of democratisation, this conference will focus on specific institutional realms of a democratic regime. From the many potential fields of inquiry in which the role of international influences for the development of democracy could be studied, three central spheres of democratic regimes were selected as relevant for the conference:

Despite the undoubtedly high relevance for the consolidation of democracies, the conference will not address directly the impact of international variables on the development of a democratically useable bureaucracy and the development of institutionalised market economies. However, the reinforcing interactions between these arenas of democratisation will not be neglected.

The opening session of the conference will be devoted to conceptual and theoretical questions, followed by sessions focusing on each of the three selected institutional realms in the countries compared. The principle aim of the conference is to promote the understanding both on a conceptual, theoretical and empirical level of the means, channels and actors of external influence on the consolidation of democracies. A more detailed concept of the conference can be obtained from the organizers of the conference.


Theory session
paper givers: Geoffrey Pridham (Bristol), Eberhard Sandschneider (Mainz)
discussant: Harald Waldrauch (Vienna)

Session on Constitution-making
paper givers: Wojciech Sokolewicz (Warsaw), Istvan Poganyi (Stratford), Juan José Solozabal Echevarria (Madrid)
discussant: not yet fixed

Session on Parties and party systems
paper givers: Radoslaw Markowski (Warsaw), György Markus (Budapest), Ramón Cotarelo García (Madrid)
discussant: Mauricio Cotta (Siena)

Session on Civil Society
paper givers: Grzegorz Ekiert (Cambridge, MA), Maté Szabó (Budapest), María Luz Morán Calvo-Sotelo (Madrid)
discussant: Georg Schöpflin (London)


General information

The conference will take place on 25-26 September 1998 at the Political Academy in Vienna, Austria.
The conference language will be English.
Due to limited space, interested participants should register as soon as possible at the confer-ence secretary (see below). Registrations are free, but will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Participants of the conference who want support for their hotel reservation can be provided with a hotel booking form from the conference secretary. Traveling to and accom-modation in Vienna, nevertheless, will have to be covered by the participants themselves.

Further information

Concerning contents (detailed concept of the conference, etc.)
Mag. Gerhard Mangott
Austrian Institute for International Affairs
Schlossplatz 13
A-2361 Laxenburg
Tel: ++43 / 2236 / 71575 / 26
Fax: ++43 / 2236 / 72514

Concerning organisational matters (conference secretary):
Mrs. Monika Stepanovský
Austrian Institute for International Affairs
Schlossplatz 13
A-2361 Laxenburg
Tel: ++43 / 2236 / 71575 / 14
Fax: ++43 / 2236 / 72514

Last updated: July 7, 1998

Center for Civil Society International