The aim of this research was to evaluate the policies of the Visegrad countries in the area of democracy assistance and the protection and promotion of human rights. It was conducted following a common methodology in order to make comparisons, draw conclusions, and make recommendation on potential coordination and the better dissemination of V4 transition know-how. The study examines V4 policies and priorities, funding decisions and targets. It also included an analysis of EU instruments in democracy assistance and how this was affecting the work of civic actors from these countries. Finally it provided an overview of the actual impact and realization of funded projects in the recipient countries, namely Belarus, Cuba, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Ukraine, examining co-operation between the countries, and drafting recommendations for future improvement.
The final outcome of the project is an evaluation of the democratic assistance activities of V4 governments and non-profit organizations along with policy recommendations. With the accompanying publication of key findings in the V4 country’s languages, and in the languages of neighbouring countries, as well as the full report in English, the dissemination through media events and advocacy workshops in the V4, V4 neighbours and in Brussels, managed to increase awareness of the foreign policy achievements of the V4 in this area. It demonstrated the distinctive contribution and potential of the V4 countries in extending their know-how of the transition to a free, democratic society to their neighbours; it also served as an important tool to raise awareness of the challenges and obstacles still facing such efforts, and the recommendations gave V4 governments hard evidence of the need to further strengthen the impact of the V4 governments’ financial commitments in this field.
Workshops were held in each of the Visegrad countries and in each recipient country. They were attended by V4 Foreign Ministry representatives, civic organisations involved in democracy promotion and government officials from recipient countries. The main purpose of the workshops was to compare the findings of the research in the individual V4 countries with the findings in the recipient countries, to draw conclusions and generate recommendations. Preliminary conclusions from the report were presented at the Krynica Economic Forum in Poland on 5-8 September 2007. The final publication was presented at a launch in Brussels, and was disseminated in each V4 country and in the neighbouring region, with wide outreach through the internet, print and electronic media, and through seminars during the course of the project with the V4 diplomatic missions in neighbouring countries and with Foreign Ministry officials in the V4 countries.
On November 5th 2007, an interim report called the Challenge of European Development Co-operation Policy for New Member-States was presented to the European Parliament development committee. This report was specially commissioned by the Parliament, and co-ordinated by the PASOS Secretariat, with the involvement of eight PASOS members. The report was taken into consideration by the EP and their draft paper drew on many of the paper’s recommendations.
On May 15 2008, the Center for Policy Studies hosted a roundtable discussion at the Central European University. The roundtable brought together senior officials at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with representatives of non-governmental organizations working on democracy assistance issues, for a briefing and discussion on the preliminary outcomes of the research project.