The collapse of the new order? From transition to crisis

At 17:00 CET on Monday the 4th July, Project Forum hosted a debate on the effects of economic liberalisation in Central Eastern Europe.

This debate featured Philipp Ther and Miroslav Beblavý and, on this page, you can find more information on both the speakers and the background to this event as well as extended video highlights. For people with a little more time, this page also contains a link to a full (English-language) recording of the evening.

Theme / Speakers / LocationVideo highlights / Related articles

About the debate:

The primacy of economic growth has consistently been called into question since the financial crisis of 2007/2008, however, much of its critique has been framed within Western parameters. This debate therefore took a look at the history and consequences of the growth imperative within a Central Eastern European context.

From the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, through different approaches to transition, EU accession, the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 and its aftermath, this debate looked at the evolution of the relationships between the growth imperative, economic liberalisation and democratic development in the countries of Central Eastern Europe [CEEC].

The Austrian academic Philipp Ther joined the Slovak politician and researcher Miroslav Beblavý to analyse how alternative socio-economic models ultimately lost out to the adoption of Washington Consensus proposals throughout CEEC, exploring why this was, where the adoption of these proposals succeeded and/or failed and what it is that has determined their failure or success and led to different developments throughout the region.

Has reducing government spending increased prosperity and what effect has prioritising economic growth had on corruption and social indicators such as unemployment? Furthermore, to what extent have the strengths and weaknesses of economic liberalisation and the adoption of the primacy of economic growth impacted upon democratic and demographic development and the state of politics within the CEEC today?

For answers to these questions and more, watch either the video highlights of the evening or to access a full recording from the live stream.

Click here for video highlights of the evening.

Click here to go to a full-length (English-language) recording of the evening on the former live streaming page


Miroslav Beblavý is a member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels

Philipp Ther is a professor and the head of the University of Vienna’s Institute for Eastern European History. Philipp Ther recently won the Leipzig Book Fair non-fiction prize for his new book, Die neue Ordnung auf dem alten Kontinent. Eine Geschichte des neoliberalen Europa [The New Order on the Old Continent. A History of Neoliberal Europe] (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014) 


Michal Hvorecký is a Slovak writer, blogger, columnist and translator

Event series:

This debate took place with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens Programme and was one debate of many taking place as part of an international series of debates on the same theme in cities around Europe, including Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, London, Sofia and Warsaw.



Café Next Apache, Panenská 28, Bratislava

Related articles:

In English / auf Deutsch

In English:

25 Years of transition. Post-Communist Europe and the IMF by James Roaf, Ruben Atoyan, Bikas Joshi, Krzysztof Krogulski
and an IMF staff team 

After democratic transition by Szabolcs Pogonyi 

A new dawn: reigniting growth in Central and Eastern Europe by Eric Labaye, Pål Erik Sjåtil, Wojtek Bogdan, Jurica Novak, Jan Mischke, Mladen Fruk and Oana Ionuțiu 

Capital flows and growth in Central and Eastern Europe by Jo Harper 

CEE countries: from industrial dinosaurs to world-class growth rates by Neil Buckley (Financial Times paywall!) 

CEE economies move forward to more sustainable growth model by Maja Garaca 

Central Europe fit for the future: 10 years after EU accession edited by Milan Nič and Paweł Świeboda 

Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe: mind the credit gap by the IMF 

Development patterns of Central and East European Countries (in the course of transition and following EU accession) by Leon Podkaminer 

Divergence and convergence in Eastern Europe or Eurasia: one transition path or two? by Robyn Melzig and Ron Sprout 

‘Eastern Europe’s Transition: Building Institutions’ in Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform by The World Bank 

East Central European economic transition and the West by Tamás Réti 

Eastern Europe’s 25 Years of Transition by David Lipton 

Economic growth and development in Central and Eastern Europe after the transformation by Ákos Dombi 

Europe’s little tiger?: reassessing economic transition in Slovakia under the Mečiar government, 1993-1998 by David A. Wemer 

Financial development and economic growth: empirical evidence from the CEE and CIS Countries by Laura Cojocaru , Saul Hoffman and Jeffrey Miller 

Fiscal decentralisation and economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe by Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Anne Krøijer 

Innovation and economic growth: the case of Slovakia by Kushtrim Braha, Artan Qineti and Roman Serenčéš 

Is there more than meets the eye to Poland’s history of the transition? by Time to Talk and Krytyka Polityczna 

No time to lose hope: Central Europe at breaking point by Michal Koran 

Poverty and inequality in Eastern Europe and the CIS transition economies by Mihaly Simai 

Reaping the benefits of a transition to greener growth in Slovakia by Caroline Klein 

Social investment and state capacity by Miroslav Beblavý and Alžbeta Hájková 

Stagnant growth in home markets is luring western banks to seek value in CEE by Owen Sanderson 

The EU enlargement and economic growth in the CEE new member countries by Ryszard Rapacki and Mariusz Próchniak 

The second transition: Eastern Europe in perspective by Stefania Fabrizio, Daniel Leigh and Ashoka Mody 

The complexities of economic transition: lessons from the Czech Republic and Slovakia by Rita O. Koyame-Marsh 

The determinants of economic growth in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic during the years 1995-2010 by Katarzyna Anna Baran 

‘Trade and economic reform in transition economies’ in Trade Reforms and Food Security: Conceptualising the Linkages by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 

Transition or transitions? The transformation of eastern Central Europe, 1989-2007 by Elemér Hankiss 

Which growth model for Central and Eastern Europe after the crisis? by Michael A. Landesmann 

Whither Growth in Central and Eastern Europe? Policy lessons for an Integrated Europe bv Torbjörn Becker, Daniel Daianu, Zsolt Darvas,
Vladimir Gligorov, Michael Landesmann, Pavle Petrovic, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Dariusz Rosati, André Sapir And Beatrice Weder Di Mauro 

Auf Deutsch:

Der Expresszug und sein Speisewagen von György Dalos 

Die fremderen Fremden ein Interview von Jens Bisky 

Ein Musterschüler schummelt: Historiker Philipp Ther zur tschechischen Systemtransformation
von Annette Kraus 

„In der Ukraine könnten die Griechenland-Milliarden mehr erreichen“ von Hans Monath 

Philipp Ther analysiert Europas neoliberale Ordnung von Jörg Hafkemeyer