If you look at the political map of Europe these days, you cannot miss the distinctive success of populist movements in Central Europe, not to mention the alliance of Hungarian and Polish governments. With a group of participants from the region, we discussed populism in the Visegrád (V4) countries and its relevance for political communication during the online workshop series “The Story of Visegrád”.
What does populism mean? Why does populism spread across the world & across Europe. Why did populists come into power? Why does populism try to change the core of Europe and the European Union? And why is populism so strong in the Visegrád Group, especially in Poland and Hungary. There is no doubt, populism fueled a widespread crisis of democracy.
Orbán, Kaczyński, Babiš, Salvini, Le Pen, Farage. Politicians from different countries, with different political affiliations, but they definitely have one thing in common: they are all populists. But how come, that one “ideology” can connect these different politicians with different political views? Well, in this article I am going to synthetize and expound these connection points in order to have the ability to forge counter-narratives.
There are few issues in Poland on which all major parties have been in agreement for years. One of them is Nord Stream 2. Successive governments have tried to stop the construction of the gas pipeline and none has succeeded. Instead of wringing hands, getting offended at the whole world and threatening to break alliances, it is essential to draw conclusions from this defeat. Let’s start with a few obvious ones.
Today, the European Commission will publish its annual Rule of Law Report. The new report could now intensify the conflict between the EU and the two Central European member states. Given the continued undermining of democratic principles in Poland and Hungary, one would expect not only a retrospective analysis, but also concrete recommendations for action against violations of the rule of law. However, this does not seem to be the case.
Liberalism is based upon the premise that individuals are to be trusted, that they know best what is in their interests, that laws, regulations and rules are superseded by the freedom of an individual, and the legislator intervenes only when absolutely necessary. Why then do we still not return to this notion after more than a year after the COVID restrictions started in earnest?
President Vladimir Putin is proposing to renew cooperation with Europe, which is to be welcomed because Russia is an important country. I believe, however, that in taking this step we should remember the history. We understand the pain of the former members of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, President Putin should equally understand the pain of those nations that suffered great injustices from the Soviet Union.
The report of the Lex Super Omnia Prosecutors’ Association entitled “The Stick Method”, is a comprehensive analysis of the situation that the prosecutor’s office has been struggling since 2016. Lex Super Omnia is an association of independent Polish prosecutors supporting democracy, quality of prosecution services and the rule of law.
When no one was waiting, Tusk decided to return. What challenges will Tusk encounter? Poland has changed a lot during his absence. Much more than one might think judging by press reports or occasional meetings with supporters. Tusk’s former comrades refuse to acknowledge this. If Tusk becomes a hostage of their phobias and expectations, he will be doomed to failure.
The “Polish Order”, presented by the ruling Law and Justice party, is a marketing shell without comprehensive reforms and adequate and effective actions. It is not a plan for increasing prosperity. It is a plan for spending money and buying votes in those areas where the authorities have their electorate and can still gain some points.