The International Republican Institute (IRI) joined with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, affiliated with the German Christian Democratic Union; the Eduardo Frei Foundation, affiliated with the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal; and the Slovak Foreign Policy Association to organize a two-day roundtable meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia entitled “Democracy Promotion on the Transatlantic Agenda.”

The December 1 and 2 workshop looked at the state of transatlantic cooperation on democracy promotion and participants included practitioners and policymakers from Berlin, The Hague, Bratislava, Brussels and Washington D.C.  The workshop included a discussion of the backlash against democracy assistance coming out of autocratic regimes such as China and Venezuela, as well as a lengthy exploration of how the United States and Europe can overcome differences over Iraq and jointly pursue an energized policy of working toward reform in the Middle East.

In his remarks, Lindsay Lloyd, IRI’s Europe Regional Director, explored the unprecedented expansion of U.S. democracy promotion efforts during the administration of President George W. Bush and noted that democracy promotion had wide bipartisan support and the recent U.S. midterm elections were unlikely to interrupt that trend.

Patrick Egan, who previously served as Resident Country Director for IRI in Iraq, encouraged Europeans to step up their engagement in that country, pointing to the impressive levels of voter participation and rising civic activity as indications that, despite the ongoing violence, a majority of Iraqis wish to see their country follow a path toward democracy.

IRI and its European partners plan to organize a follow-on event in 2007, to bring in additional European foundations and organizations.

IRI Senior Vice President Georges Fauriol submitted a discussion paper examining current issues and questions in the field.  Lindsay Lloyd summarized recent developments from the American side, including new aid mechanisms such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Middle East Partnership Initiative and Patrick Egan, Director of the Bratislava-based Regional Program for Central and Eastern Europe, gave a presentation on how the U.S. and Europe can better combine efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East.

IRI helped secure the participation of senior U.S. officials in the conference, including U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Rodolphe Vallee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Jeffrey R. Krilla and Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, King Mallory.

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