Hungary

The slow death of Hungarian popular sovereignty

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is often accused of promoting a form of ‘illiberal democracy’, where governance is rooted in the popular support of a majority of the country’s citizens, but without a strong guarantee of minority rights and the rule of law. Lise Esther Herman argues that this criticism, which has been put forward by many of Orbán’s […]

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    A roadmap for improving the distribution of EU funds in Hungary

A roadmap for improving the distribution of EU funds in Hungary

Hungary is currently a net recipient of EU structural and cohesion funds, but as Anna Számely writes, the country’s recent record on key measures of development has been underwhelming. She identifies seven blockages in the chain of EU funding in Hungary that are presently acting as obstacles to effective investment.

As the EU’s next seven-year budget is negotiated for the […]

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    The European Parliament vote against Hungary underlined the EU’s flawed approach to safeguarding democracy

The European Parliament vote against Hungary underlined the EU’s flawed approach to safeguarding democracy

On 12 September, the European Parliament voted to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary for breaching the EU’s core values. Angelos Chryssogelos argues that although the vote has frequently been explained with reference to the internal politics of the European People’s Party, the issue said more about the shortcomings of the EU’s instruments for safeguarding liberal democracy.

Credit: © European Union 2018 […]

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Why did the EPP vote against Orbán?

On 12 September, the European Parliament voted to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary for breaching the EU’s core values. Fabio Wolkenstein explains that the European People’s Party (EPP) has faced a difficult balancing act in relation to Viktor Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party, with many EPP members critical of Fidesz, but the EPP itself relying on Fidesz MEPs for support […]

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    Hungary’s election: Viktor Orbán tightens his grip over Hungarian politics

Hungary’s election: Viktor Orbán tightens his grip over Hungarian politics

Hungary’s election on 8 April saw the Fidesz-KDNP alliance led by prime minister Viktor Orbán secure another two-thirds majority in the country’s parliament. Eamonn Butler writes that if there is to be any radical shift in Hungarian politics, the focus will need to be on building a proper political alternative to Fidesz – a task that is near impossible in the current […]

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    Experiments in the laboratory of populism: The 2018 Hungarian election

Experiments in the laboratory of populism: The 2018 Hungarian election

Parliamentary elections will be held in Hungary on 8 April. Theresa Gessler and Johannes Wachs preview the vote, noting that although the governing Fidesz party has a sizeable polling lead, the contest promises to be closer than the last parliamentary election four years ago.

Hungary has emerged as a trendsetter for Europe’s populist right. As Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz […]

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Why the media helps make Hungarian elections so predictable

Hungary will hold parliamentary elections on 8 April, with polls suggesting Fidesz, led by incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is in a strong position to hold on to power. Andrea Fumarola argues that a sharp decline in press freedom over the last decade has helped Orbán to consolidate his political position, but that the dominance of Fidesz has come […]

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    Can Europe stand up for academic freedom? The Bologna Process, Hungary, and the Central European University

Can Europe stand up for academic freedom? The Bologna Process, Hungary, and the Central European University

Several politicians across Europe have voiced concern about academic freedom in Hungary following the passing of legislation that threatens the country’s Central European University. But do the EU’s institutions have any authority to act over the affair? Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon argue that a university coming under attack in an EU member state marks a critical moment, and […]

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    The European Union has an obligation to protect civil society in Hungary

The European Union has an obligation to protect civil society in Hungary

New rules affecting the Central European University in Budapest have been criticised by several prominent figures in the EU and United States. Andrea Fumarola writes that the actions of the Hungarian government have been motivated in part by a desire to solidify their support base ahead of elections in 2018, and that the EU has an obligation to make its […]

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    Orbanism at its limits? Hungary’s referendum has exposed the first cracks in Viktor Orban’s rule

Orbanism at its limits? Hungary’s referendum has exposed the first cracks in Viktor Orban’s rule

On 2 October, Hungary held a referendum on whether it would accept proposed EU quotas for the resettlement of refugees. Around 98 per cent of voters who participated in the referendum rejected the quotas, but the turnout fell below the 50 per cent threshold required for referendums to be valid. Abel Bojar suggests the result constitutes one of the […]

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    Mergers and splits: How party systems have changed in Central and Eastern Europe since 1990

Mergers and splits: How party systems have changed in Central and Eastern Europe since 1990

The party systems of Central and Eastern Europe are generally viewed as being less stable than those in Western Europe, with a greater level of volatility in terms of the parties that compete in successive elections. But how has this picture changed since 1990? Using a new dataset covering 11 countries, Raimondas Ibenskas and Allan Sikk outline some of […]

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Central Europe could be the region most damaged by Brexit

Some observers have voiced concern that with Brexit set to dominate the agenda at the EU level in the coming months and years, other pressing issues could be put on the backburner. Zselyke Csaky writes that one such concern is the state of democracy in Hungary and Poland. She argues that if the EU becomes preoccupied during negotiations with […]

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    Fidesz and electoral reform: How to safeguard Hungarian democracy

Fidesz and electoral reform: How to safeguard Hungarian democracy

The Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orbán, has been criticised by some international observers for undermining the country’s democracy, but how accurate is this view? Andrea Fumarola presents a comprehensive look at the effect of electoral reforms recently undertaken in Hungary. He writes that the current voting system seriously limits not only the fair representation of opposition parties and […]

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    Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Hungary and Poland’s anti-democratic turn: a new era or more of the same?

Reforms affecting the independence of courts and the media in Hungary and Poland have received significant attention in recent months. But to what extent do these developments constitute a genuine shift in the nature of Hungarian and Polish politics? Jan Rovny writes that while both countries have witnessed a rise in support for parties with anti-democratic tendencies, the dynamics […]

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    Why the Commission is treating Poland more harshly than Hungary in its rule of law review

Why the Commission is treating Poland more harshly than Hungary in its rule of law review

In January, the European Commission announced an inquiry into whether recent Polish reforms affecting the country’s constitutional tribunal and media are consistent with the rule of law. Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska writes that the Commission’s review has been noticeably different from its previous approach in relation to Hungary, where there have been similar concerns raised over reforms carried out by Viktor […]

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    European views on the UK’s renegotiation: Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, and Lithuania

European views on the UK’s renegotiation: Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, and Lithuania

The success or failure of David Cameron’s planned renegotiation of the UK’s EU membership will depend to a large extent on how the other 27 EU member states respond to his proposals. But how do countries across the EU view the UK’s renegotiation? Building on a report published in 2014 by the German Council on Foreign Relations, EUROPP is […]

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    Hungary, Poland and Slovakia show the risks associated with mainstream parties co-opting the platforms of the radical right

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia show the risks associated with mainstream parties co-opting the platforms of the radical right

The rise of the radical right has presented a challenge to mainstream parties in a number of European countries. As Bartek Pytlas writes, one of the strategies mainstream parties have adopted in several cases has been to co-opt the platforms of radical right parties in the hope of colonising their support. Based on an analysis of Hungary, Poland and […]

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    Five minutes with James Ker-Lindsay: “I have never seen the EU so utterly divided and working against the very principles upon which it was built”

Five minutes with James Ker-Lindsay: “I have never seen the EU so utterly divided and working against the very principles upon which it was built”

How has the refugee crisis affected countries in South Eastern Europe? In a discussion on the situation in Serbia, Croatia and Hungary, James Ker-Lindsay argues that with no country – Germany included – managing to get all of their moves right, the crisis is proving to be the most divisive issue Europe has so far had to face.

Serbia […]

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    Viktor Orbán’s views on the death penalty could push Hungary further to the margins of EU politics

Viktor Orbán’s views on the death penalty could push Hungary further to the margins of EU politics

Abolishing the death penalty is a precondition for membership of the European Union and opposition to capital punishment forms one of the key elements of the EU’s human rights policy. Gergő Závecz writes on recent statements by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, in which he expressed support for opening up a debate on the subject. He notes that […]

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    The rise of Jobbik poses a credible threat to Fidesz’s dominance in Hungary

The rise of Jobbik poses a credible threat to Fidesz’s dominance in Hungary

Fidesz has been the dominant party in Hungary in recent years and secured a ‘supermajority’ of two-thirds of MPs in the Hungarian parliamentary elections in 2014. However, as Andrea L. P. Pirro writes, the party’s position has come under threat of late, with a by-election loss earlier in the year removing the supermajority, while another by-election on 12 April […]

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