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Kreyenbühl, Thomas

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 27/04/2006

Two years of EU enlargement

"Poland replaced its parliament last October, it was Hungary's turn to do so this month, and in June the Czech Republic and Slovakia will follow. The procession of elections in the four new central European EU member states has not yet come to an end, but it's already possible to discern certain trends, for example, that EU membership, in addition to boosting economic progress, has also made these countries more politically mature," writes Eastern Europe correspondent Thomas Kreyenbühl. "Slovakia's governing centre and right-wing parties have not deviated in any way from the principles of the liberal and frequently unpopular reform policies – despite all the indications that they would lose the elections. By the same token, the Czech Social Democrats are also refusing to make election concessions. The need to restore the budget to a healthy balance is apparently better understood in the East than in West European Italian-style 'telecracies'.

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