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Book presentation and discussion

Tuesday, 26. October 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Save in my calendar

Book presentation and discussion

The division of Europe

The EU’s response to the dismantling of democracy

When it comes to the dismantling of democracy in the EU, Hungary and Poland in particular keep making inglorious headlines. The Hungarian and Polish governments continue to restrict the freedom of the judiciary system and the media, criminalize civil society and violate women's and LGBTIQ`s rights. The current low point is the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court which negates the primacy of European law over national law and thus calls into question an essential pillar of the functioning of the European Union.

Political scientists Claus Leggewie and Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski analyze these developments in their recently published book “The Visegrád Connection. A challenge for Europe” (Wagenbach Verlag) against the background of a broader phenomenon in the Visegrad countries, which include Poland and Hungary as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. "State capture", the taking over of the state for the purpose of maintaining power by a group of - albeit differently shaped - right-wing populists, is what unites the four states despite all their differences and makes them a central actor in the EU.

At the same time, a political and civil society opposition has emerged that asserts itself as a social counterforce to these governments. It is now the task of the EU to oppose the democratic regression and to support the self-healing powers in the countries. If Europe does not defend itself, there is a risk of deep rifts in the international community that threaten the European Union as a whole.

How do the Visegrad countries Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia differ and what do they have in common? What constitutes the political and social counter-movements and how much reason do we have to believe that there is hope?

Why is it so difficult for the EU to protect the treaty-based values of democracy and the rule of law in its ranks, and how can the EU provide more consistent responses to the dismantling of democracy? How can we support oppositional forces and civil society on the ground?

Discussion with:

  • Prof. em. Dr. Claus Leggewie, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Prof. Dr. Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski, University of Leipzig
  • Prof. Dr. Oľga Gyárfášová, Comenius University, Bratislava
  • Dr. Kai-Olaf Lang, The German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin
  • Chair: Dr. Anneke Hudula, expert for Central Eastern Europe, n-ost, Berlin

Welcome address: Dr. Christine Pütz, Policy Adviser European Union, Heinrich Böll Foundation

Dr. Christine Pütz
Senior Policy Advisor European Union
Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin
E-Mail puetz@boell.de


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