The agricultural sector in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is confronted by two huge problems simultaneously: transition processes and sustainability. Institutions are very important for both these problems. The purpose of this paper is to make clear that the institutional setting is very important, and to give insight into the initial situation of institutions for sustainability and transitions. For this purpose we carried out surveys in CEE with questions about government performance, institutional environment, government structures and social capital. There is strong relationship between the determinants of good government performance in general and those for good government for realizing sustainable agriculture. However, besides formal rules, the informal rules of the institutional environment and social capital are also very important for realizing of sustainable agriculture. Results of surveys show that these institutional elements and the level of social capital are different in the countries of CEE, and have to be developed. Knowledge of government performance, institutional environment and social capital is a necessary condition for developing more suitable governance structures for realizing sustainable agriculture.