The sequence of events in Poland might sound familiar to many of you. Hungary experienced quite a similar scenario. Clearly, Poland is not an isolated case. Political radicalisation and anti-democratic backtracking might be contagious.
President Andrzej Duda has just signed the act passed recently by both the Polish parliament (o, hail, the parliamentary majority of Law and Justice!) and the Senate (yay! another session held at 3am!) that is to alter the way in which Constitutional Tribunal operates. So now instead of 5 independent judges we’ll have 15 (thus 13 will be necessary to make a binding decision) judges of somewhat dubious background while all claims will be scrutinized according to the chronological order in which they have been filed. Sounds sound, but is it really?
You were ‘nice’? Here is a reward. You were ‘naughty’ – here is a punishment. There is a kind of a social contract between an individual and Santa Claus. This simple and intuitive logic is not uncommon in many cultures. But I cannot help at wonder: what would Santa Claus be like if he was a government figure?
The mass scale of the social response to what Law and Justice is doing, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, which within two days gathered over 30,000 supporters may be just a preview of a massive political force that shall defend the rule of law, its sense of belonging to Europe and liberal democracy which it deems indispensable, or even ‘holy’.
More than 20 representatives of NGOs, Roma employment organizations, journalists, politicians, embassies’ representatives, among others, attended a seminar organized by INESS on December 15, 2015 devoted to describing the existing barriers on the labor market, which are the result of existing legislation and discuss possibilities of their removal, or change.
Nowoczesna is a party of the responsibility for the public finances, of the sensible management of the resources – a party that promotes entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, innovativeness and free market. It is a clear antithesis of the vision of Law and Justice – which Civic Platform clearly is not.
On November 18 in Budapest, the Free Market Foundation together with the Uninvited Network and the Civic Platform organized a conference on education. Teachers, students, parents, recruiters and education policy experts worked together during the event to identify the issues of the education system and to formulate responses and solutions.
Although Bulgaria has officially been in a budgetary consolidation phase during the entire 2013-2015 period, public expenditure went out of control on several occasions. Yet again the newly presented medium-term budget framework provides for decreasing deficits, while current expenditures (and thus deficits) are being hiked.
Slovakia’s example is emblematic of how a government trying to patch up fiscal loopholes turns to targeting incomes of the most vulnerable, using their limited means to solve societal problems. From the government’s perspective, this is often the easiest way to procure the necessary funding.