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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”.

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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.

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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.

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“More free market or more government? How to strengthen post-pandemic recovery?”. It was the title of a panel hosted by the FOR during the Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland, the largest conference of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. The panel was supported by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Agata Stremecka, President of FOR, moderated the discussion.

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In the country of the Vistula River fiction is more and more often surpassing reality. In fact, it becomes reality before Poles’ very eyes. Moreover, they begin to arrange themselves in it, stunned by events that would have been unimaginable for the average person just a few weeks before. However, Poles, who are accustomed to living in the fumes of absurdity, quickly tame the next shock and come to terms with it.

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More different or similar? This was the question posed by the authors of the report “Minding the Gap: Deepening Polarization in Poland and Hungary” carried out by 21 Research Center and the Project: Poland. The study included two focus group interviews with residents of villages and small towns where Fidesz and PiS were the dominant political parties in the elections.

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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.

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In cultural anthropology, among many typologies of social cultures, there is also a division into masculine and feminine cultures. This division results from the difference in characteristics attributed to men and women. The basic difference arises from biology, which determines the role of women and men in the process of procreation.

Bulat Silvia via Canva.com

In 2019 Projekt: Polska with support of the Prague Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom initiated a project called “Ed Net. Education for Human Rights and Diversity”. The project idea grew from hostile sentiment of populist Central European governments towards anti-discriminatory, anti-hate speech and sexual education and total lack of such education in other Eastern European countries.

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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.