Standing Up to Goliath | The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Cities in Central and Eastern Europe are becoming promoters of democratic values, even when central governments are acting otherwise.

The impact of the coronavirus on democracy has been mixed in Central and Eastern Europe, as elsewhere. While the pandemic has accentuated community-led solutions and the importance of responses tailored to local realities, central governments have assumed enhanced powers and used the opportunity to ignore democratic safeguards.

Despite those setbacks, local political actors are likely to continue to forge ahead in the process of building democratic resilience in this region. They are increasingly eager to challenge incumbent governments, as electoral wins in leading cities offer much more political capital than in the previous decades. Their stance is strengthened by local economic development and the growing involvement of civil society.
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