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.. The Role of Foundations in the Transformation Process
.. in Central and Eastern Europe


By Frances Pinter

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1 Introduction

This chapter explores the role of foundations in central and eastern Europe. Ten EU accession countries, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are covered here. There is no reference to Russia and the CIS countries, nor to the countries of south-eastern Europe. Although these countries receive substantial funding from the same, primarily Western, foundations that are active in the accession countries, they fall outside the remit of this book.

The ten countries considered here are very important because their European Union membership will have a profound impact on Europe as a whole. Their landmass will represent a 33% expansion of the geographical territory of the EU. An additional 105 million people will comprise 28% of the total population. The aggregate GDP, even when adjusted to purchasing power, is only 9% of the EU with an average GDP equal to 32% of the EU average per head. The unadjusted figures of 4% and 13% respectively make for even grimmer reading.

It is against this backdrop that foundations have come to play a significant role, firstly in the transition from communism to democracy and market economy, and secondly in the long journey down the road towards EU accession. This double transition places additional burdens on the countries.

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© Bertelsmann Foundation 2001

Originally published in Foundations in Europe: Society, Management and Law Bertelsmann 2001

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