In 2010, when Viktor Orban took over Hungary’s government, he seemed like a typical mainstream-conservative European politician. But as soon as he announced his ‘voting booth revolution,’ we, who knew him, were aware that this would be the start of a new era in Hungary. Within a year, Orban’s one-party government rammed a new basic law through Parliament that tailored the constitution for his party’s interests. Indeed, his changes proved to be revolutionary. He established the first 21st-century populist state within the European Union. Continue reading 2018 Elections — Vital Decisions for Hungary’s Future
According to a recent (May 2017) public opinion poll, 72 per cent of Czech people favour keeping their national currency whereas only 21 per cent would welcome a switchover to the Euro. Continue reading Czech Own Currency Insures Against Euro Losses
Geography and history are political tyrants and nowhere more so than for in Armenia. For all the emphasis, nowadays, on the potential of regional trade, Armenia is boxed into a situation that offers little or no openings. History, distant and none too distant, rules our alliances with Turkey or Azerbaijan and Russia’s brutal show of force in Georgia, in 2008, casts a sombre shadow on Tbilisi’s room for manoeuvre. Continue reading Can Armenia Keep a Foot in Both Camps?
It goes without saying that the state visit that US president, Donald Trump, paid to Poland and his meeting with the leaders of the Three Seas Initiative (TSI) countries was a great success. This achievement has not only shown the ability and perseverance of the Polish diplomatic structure, but also underlines the interest of the new American administration in the Central European region, which was doubted by some commentators and analysts. Continue reading How Will Trump’s Visit Affect Polish Politics?
Azerbaijan is a small but energy-rich country in a strategically sensitive location. Its leaders have had many choices about pathways to the future and through consistent decisions over two decades, have created a repressive oligarchic regime that is ruled by one family. How did Azerbaijan, which started on the path to political pluralism in 1992, become a corrupt state that abuses human rights and the media? Continue reading Azerbaijan: The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Nothing
As Adam Smith once said, the sufficient conditions for the economic prosperity of a country are “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice”. Continue reading Adam Smith’s Warning for Poland
Since Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government was elected in October 2015, it has systematically moved to consolidate its power. The country’s public media have lost their independent voice. The powers of the supreme court have been curtailed. Managers of enterprises have been replaced. Human rights, especially for women, have been constantly undermined. Continue reading Poland’s Drift Away From Democracy
The crisis created by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is nearing a boiling point. Having taken control of the Constitutional Tribunal last year, PiS is pushing new legislation through parliament that will place the rest of the judiciary firmly under the political control of the party’s majority in parliament. The European Commission is urgently examining whether it should an initiate an Article 7 proceeding against Poland for violations of fundamental rights. Continue reading PiS Uses Media Control to Bring Poland to Heel
In the current European context, not many European leftist parties are successful in elections. From Western Europe to the new democracies, either populism or anti-establishment parties are seizing the moment. On the other hand, the Romanian Social-Democrats (PSD) held a steady grip on their electoral share, with a sweeping 45 per cent in the national elections, less than a year ago. Continue reading Surprising Resilience of Romanian Social-Democrats
Parliamentary elections are a good time to evaluate the functioning of democracy in a country such as Albania. Continue reading Albania’s Election Apathy
Moldova and Romania have long toyed with the idea of (re)unification. The two countries, which were a single entity until Russia annexed present-day Moldova in 1812 (and then again in 1940), have much in common in the way of language, culture, and history. Both countries are predominantly Romanian speaking, have populations that are closely-related ethnically, and are successors to the premodern Romanian states. Continue reading Good Match But Unlikely Marriage
In the 27 years since the transformation, Poland has been preoccupied with catching up with the more civilised and developed economies of Western Europe. Moreover, it has not suffered a recession since 1991, when the GDP dropped by seven per cent per annum. For these reasons, we have seen the longest period of constant and stable global economic growth ever. The economic upturn has also fostered foreign investment. Continue reading Poland’s Capital Saturation Lower Than the Czech Republic’s