Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate
Chapter 23: Environment in eastern Europe
Bernd Baumgartl INTRODUCTION A chapter on Eastern Europe should not attempt to adopt one single approach, and to draw overall valid conclusions. Even before 1989, national particularities had to be taken into account, when referring to the ‘Eastern bloc’ and it is even more difficult to squeeze all of the countries between Gdansk and Varna, or Maribor and Kyiv, or Praha and Skopje into one analysis in 1996. ‘Eastern Europe’ has drifted apart with at least as many speeds as it has parts. If we attempt to find common ground concerning the interaction between environment and society/societies, the above caveat should remain in the back of our minds at all times. As a matter of fact, in most of central and eastern Europe (CEE) the process of economic and political transition is far from complete. In the aftermath of the events of 1989, the time horizon for the establishment of a new economic and political system seemed, at the most, a question of a couple of years. The euphoria has now been replaced by soberness and recognition that it will take years or even decades before the new market structures are working fully. The problems of privatization and property ownership have restricted the pace of reform. The relatively small numbers of industries privatized and restructured underlines the slowness of change. The idealistic short-term view of the phase immediately after the fall of communism has been replaced by a realistic long-term perspective, forced upon the reconstruction by external and domestic complications....
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