The standard literature lists three ways in which the Western industrialised countries could support the transformation process in Europe's emerging market economies (EMEs): technical assistance, financial aid and trade access (see i.a. World Bank 1991, p. iv) . Important as such support would be, it may not suffice. This paper adresses the question whether the West could make a further major contribution: lending institutional stability to the EMEs. The starting point is the observation that an institutional deficiency or even void is one of the major causes of the transformation crisis. ' The old institutions have largely vanished; the emergence and consolidation of new and ultimately far superior institutional arrangements takes time; the nascent local institutions lack stability and credibility. Whereas the issues of credibility and institutional stability have featured prominently in the debate on some internal aspects of the transformation process, they have played no major role in the discussion on how the West could support the EMEs and how East-Central Europe could and should be incorporated into the process of European integration.