The last couple of years have seen the citizens of several CEE countries witness the erosion of hard-earned liberalism, while privately and publicly weighing on how to prevent populists in power from further trampling citizen’s freedoms and rights.
On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament voted to initiate sanctions under Article 7 against Hungary. While the decision is definitely not a win for Viktor Orbán on a European level, it did boost his position at home.
Viktor Orbán gave his traditional annual speech, underling the need to strengthen Christianity, building Christian democracy in Hungary, while fighting liberalism. Christian Democrats surely cringe upon hearing this line of thought, leaving us all to wonder what an illiberal Christian democracy ought to look like.
When facing illiberal regimes, a stream of victories by populists and a seemingly unstoppable retreat of liberal democracy, should we also simply adept to the new reality and “make our peace”? I would argue that this is the strategy many people have been pursuing in Hungary.
Mazowiecki proved that the strategy of dialogue is really the one that enables achieving big goals. The recent decision of the two main opposition parties in Poland – Nowoczesna and Civic Platform – to emabrk on a closer cooperation in the forthcoming 2018 municipal elections is a step in this direction.
The governing coalition of PSD and ALDE, elected in December 2016, seems indecisive in exercising executive power. The declining voter turnout, the street protests of February, and the curious change of prime minister in June raise legitimate questions about Romania’s flawed democracy.
It is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who is to defend the Law and Justice (PiS) government against the consequences of violations of the rule of law in Poland. These violations have led eventually to the reactions set out in the EU treaties. The Polish ruling party can blame only itself.
Viewing the galaxy as a strictly military dichotomy is a mistake – the Resistance is not only about the war against the First order. In reality, the Resistance has a wider role to play: it constructs an ideological and value-based community. In other words: they live in a political community.
Including new member states to ensure further cohesion in wider Europe, while at the same time continuing to address inequality, racism, and nationalism are the pathways that should be followed for the EU to avoid less desirable scenarios.
Łódź, Poland – Free Courts, Women’s Strike, Leave the Biłowieża Forest Alone, Save Democracy – these are just a few of the demonstrations I’ve attended in the past few months. I might be all for social activism, but surely, that’s not the point of living in a (seemingly) democratic country in the 21st century.