Medium-Term Strategic Planning

A workshop by SIGMA and Montenegro’s Ministry of European Affairs, Podgorica 11-12 May 2017

To step up its EU accession preparations, the newly elected government of Montenegro has established a new Ministry of European Affairs (MEP) since November 2016. In May 2017, the Ministry organized a government-wide workshop on the coordination of strategic planning together with SIGMA, the joint program created by the OECD and the EU to strengthen public management.

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the requirements and coordination of strategic plans, to link strategy documents and medium-term budget planning and to define goals and indicators for monitoring and reporting. Apart from MEP, senior civil servants from the Secretariat of the Government, the Ministry of Finance and key line ministries attended the workshop. SIGMA experts included practitioners from Estonia, Latvia and Hungary. read more

A Reflective Power?

Foreign-Policy Positioning in Germany’s Electoral Campaign

Berlin TV Tower

Opening lecture at the Center for International Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, 28 March 2017

Surrounded by global and European uncertainties, Germany is expecting federal legislative elections on 24 September 2017. European integration, the transatlantic alliance and the cooperation with Russia have been bedrocks of Germany’s foreign policy and its official international identity as a “reflective power” (Frank-Walter Steinmeier). All three fundaments are now subject to eroding forces or unprecedented political challenges. External turbulences interact with domestic tendencies of popular concern and distrust regarding the governing political elites and their European crisis management capacities. read more

Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation

A workshop with Belgrade Open School staff, 16-18 May 2016

To upgrade their research capacity, think tanks need access to methodological and conceptual tools that have recently been developed by researchers in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. My three-day workshop with Belgrade Open School provided an overview on rationalist and institutionalist approaches of policy analysis, focusing on examples from Europeanization studies. Notions of causation and strategies to deal with confounding causes formed the basis of our discussion on evaluation methods. The workshop also included an introduction to regression and factor analysis, two key tools of empirical policy research. read more

Methodology of Social Science Research

Training for the Institute of World Policy, Kiev, 4 September 2015

A full day of teaching with the staff of Ukraine’s leading independent think tank for International Relations, the Institute of World Policy. The main themes were:
1. Research design / causation, theory building;
2. Conceptualization and measurement
3. Qualitative and quantitative methods
4. Evaluating policies

(c) Martin Brusis

Video clips available here

Contestation and Democracy in Eastern Europe

Keynote Lecture, Annual Graduate Conference for East European Studies, Akademie für Politische Bildung Tutzing, 19 June 2015Movie Rings (2017)

  • Is East European politics more contested than in the past?
  • Why has public contestation increased?
  • How does increased contestation influence democracy and the prospects of democratization in Eastern Europe?
(c) Martin Brusis

Report (in German):JOE2015_AkPB_Report

East-Central Europe and the European Crises

Claudia Matthes and I prepared a paper for the panel: “Demokratieentwicklung in vergleichender Perspektive”, organized at the annual conference of the DVPW section on Comparative Politics, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, 25 – 27 February 2015

The conference venue: GIGA Hamburg
The conference venue: GIGA Hamburg

East-Central European Democracies Adrift? Trajectories and their Causes

Electoral landslides, corruption scandals involving political leaders, declining satisfaction with democracy, mass protests and the erosion of democratic accountability institutions in one of the countries, Hungary, raise questions about the development of East-Central European democracies. Our paper argues that these democracies are subject to several drift processes triggered by the crises of economic and European integration and the deeping dealignment between voters and political parties. The impact of these factors differs from country to country, depending on its configuration of institutional constraints, socio-political cleavages and citizens’ expectations. In the paper, we examine how these structural factors influence democratic governance in East-Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and why some of these democracies have been more resilient than others. read more

Ethno-Regional Diversity and Political Integration in Eastern Europe

A seminar  for PhD students at Kazakh National University Al’-Farabi, Almaty

Eastern Europe has been shaped by historically late state and nation building. Due to this trajectory, questions of state identity and cohesion have acquired persisting political relevance. Ethnopolitical conflicts have led to the disintegration of all three state socialist federations. Ethnopolitical cleavages structure party systems in the new nation states of Eastern Europe, particularly where they are related to persisting ethnoregional diversity.

Author: László Sebők, Teleki László Foundation and Südost-Institut

The course discussed the political integration of ethnoregional diversity in connection with the territorial restructuring of states which occured in the context of public administration reform, the consolidation of peace agreements and the preparation for accession to the European Union. Drivers, paths and outcomes of regionalization processses were compared.

Regionalparteien in Rumänien und der Slowakei

Vortrag beim EZFF-Autorenworkshop “Regionalparteien nach der Europawahl: Selbstverständnis, Handlungsspielräume und Bedeutung” 23.-25.10.2014, Tutzing

Mehrere Parteien konkurrieren um die Repräsentation der magyarischen Volksgruppen in Rumänien und der Slowakei. Während der Verband der Magyaren Rumäniens (UDMR/RMDSZ) seine dominante Position seit der politischen Pluralisierung Anfang der 1990er Jahre behaupten konnte, verlor die traditionelle Partei der Magyarischen Koalition (SMK/MKP) in der Slowakei gegenüber der 2009 neugegründeten Partei Most-Híd, die magyarische und slowakische Wähler anzusprechen versucht.

In dem Vortrag analysiere ich die Wahlergebnisse, Organisationssstrukturen, Wählerbasis, Programmatik und Koalitionspolitik der magyarischen Regionalparteien sowie ihre Beziehungen zur ungarischen Regierung.



Federalism and Governance Winter School

A lecture series on ethno-regional diversity and political integration in Central and Eastern Europe, European Academy Bozen/Bolzano, Winter School Federalism and Governance, 12 February 2014

(c) Martin Brusis
(c) Martin Brusis


• Does ethno-regional diversity still matter in Central and Eastern Europe
• How have CEE regions emerged?
• Why have the state socialist federations collapsed?
• What approaches exist to integrate ethno-regional diversity?
• Why have CEE states reformed their territorial organization?
• How does European integration affect regionalization in CEE?

Quality of Democracy and the “Sustainable Governance Indicators”

Relating the Sustainable Governance Indicators
to the Quality of Democracy

Paper for the Workshop “Measuring Democracy”. IPSA Research Committee on the Quality of Democracy, DVPW-Arbeitskreis Demokratieforschung, Frankfurt/Main, 29 September – 1 October 2013

The Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) are a set of 147 detailed items and two aggregated indices that measure the quality of democracy (QoD), policy performance and executive governance in OECD member states. Two editions have been published since 2009 by the Bertelsmann Foundation, an NGO based in Germany. The SGI consist of qualitative expert assessments, country reports and data retrieved from official statistics. As the name suggests, the SGI have been designed to measure the quality of governance, a concept that overlaps with concepts of democracy or QoD, but has its distinct origins, ideational references and discourse communities.

One motive for their creation has been to complement the Foundation’s so-called Transformation Index that is limited to assessing democracy and market economy in the developing world, post-socialist countries and emerging markets. Since the label “Transformation” and the underlying concepts refer to reforms aimed at establishing democracy and market economy, a simple transfer of these concepts to countries considered as “established” democracies and market economies would have raised many problems. It was therefore decided to use the label “Governance” in the SGI project. Apart from the appeal of an internationally more familiar term (and renowned predecessor projects such as the Worldwide Governance Indicators), the label was also chosen to convey a more specific meaning since it refers to the interaction between governments and their political and societal environment. This focus on “executive governance” has been seen as an important added value of the entire project since the governing activities in and by (core) executives constituted a white spot in an increasingly crowded field of cross-nationally comparative indices and datasets.

The present paper does not further explore the SGI’s conceptual background in debates about the quality of governance and government. Rather, it explains the design of the SGI by situating it in the debate on QoD. This debate has been concerned with theoretically grounded concepts able to adequately differentiate among democracies. It has been driven by the global diffusion of democracy that has made differences between individual democracies more visible and has revealed shortcoming of existing measures of democracy which often do not sufficiently distinguish among so-called established democracies.

The paper identifies two conceptual strategies scholars have chosen to evaluate QoD: enhancing the concept of democracy or defining a separate concept of democratic quality. More demanding, “thicker” conceptualizations of democracy must demonstrate that including or excluding additional attributes neither stretches the concept nor introduces voluntarism. Conceptualizations of democratic quality are expected to anchor the underlying idea of quality in the theory of democracy. In the first three sections, these conceptualizations are discussed and integrated into a composite concept that combines the notion of a constitutional democracy with measures of governmental accountability, responsiveness and performance. The paper claims that the SGI, by reflecting this composite concept, provide a valid measure for QoD. In the following sections, the concept is further disaggregated into dimensions, categories and items that enable a measurement based both on indicators from official statistics and expert ratings. The SGI measurement and aggregation procedures are explained and the validity of the measurement is examined.