Media Briefs

Civil Society - A Media Briefing
The Cases of Hungary and Bulgaria

European Union Participation in Developing Civil Society in East Central Europe - The Cases of Hungary and Bulgaria

In Western Europe, civil society, the collection of voluntary associations situated between the state, the business world, and the family, evolved alongside democracy. In East Central Europe, fifty years of Soviet domination led to the absolute suppression of civil society. With the democratizing changes of the 1990s came the critical need to strengthen civil society in the region in order to entrench the democratic processes and preclude the possibility of a reversal to authoritarianism. Focusing on the contrasting cases of Hungary and Bulgaria, this brief outlines the actions undertaken by the European Union (EU) in order to overcome the weakness of post-communist civil society. Key EU actions include encouraging the development of non-governmental organizations, grass-roots movements, and a free press independent of state control.

  • Historical sketch
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Media
  • Benefits for civil society from EU aid programs

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