Judges in central and eastern Europe are under attack.
The most frightening thing about this is that the judges are under attack from their own governments. The authoritarian, populist style governments arising across the region have repeatedly shown that they seek to curtail and control judicial independence, subjecting judges to direct governmental control and limiting their ability to act independently. As an independent branch of the state, the judiciary poses a potential obstacle to those bent on the consolidation of power. The assault on an independent judiciary is part of a larger trend, documented across the region, to stifle dissent, whether it comes from civil society, the media, opposing political factions, or judges acting as an independent check on government actions.
Continue reading Assaults on the Judiciary: How CEE Governments Are Trying to Restrict Judicial Independence, and Why It’s Not Working… For Now
In April, news broke of a widespread anti-gay purge in Chechnya; in September, gay men and transgender women were rounded up in Azerbaijan; and in October reports emerged that a registry of gay men and lesbians was being compiled by the authorities in Tajikistan. How might we understand these disparate events as part of a trend in these three former Soviet countries?
Continue reading ‘Traditional Values’: A Potent Weapon Against LGBT Rights
When, back in April 2015, I had the honour and pleasure of setting up NowoczesnaPL with Ryszard Petru and 19 other eminent individuals, we didn’t expect that Law and Justice (PiS) would be able to ruin Poland to the extent that it has. For ruining the country is exactly what it is doing. Continue reading Only a United Opposition Can Defeat Poland’s Ruling Law and Justice Party
Its opponents accuse Poland’s right-wing government of undermining confidence in, and weakening the country’s ties with, the EU. The government’s supporters argue that the ruling party is committed to defending national interests and sovereignty within a reformed Union. Poles are still overwhelming pro-EU but this support is shallow and increasingly instrumental. Continue reading Is there any prospect of ‘Polexit’?
In late July 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Croatia had broken the Dublin III Regulation during mass-arrivals of refugees and forced migrants in 2015/2016. The rule was supposedly broken by allowing the refugees to cross over Croatian territory. This lead to the refugees ‘irregularly’ travelling further to Slovenia and Austria without imposing legal mechanisms of interception and eventual examinations of the possible claims for international protection (asylum). Continue reading Political Tensions Rise As Croatia Allegedly Breaks the Dublin III Refugee Regulation
The new non-governmental organisations’ (NGO) law in Hungary made international headlines; however, the crackdown on independent NGOs, trying to hold the government accountable, is not a new phenomenon in Hungary. The newly adopted law is about the transparency of foreign funded organisations. Despite its title, the law does not further transparency, but rather serves as a tool to stigmatise independent voices. Continue reading Why Hungary’s New NGO Law Is Harmful for Business
Nobody questions any longer that the ICT (Cyber) revolution is now a permanent part of the landscape and that we should take advantage of it to make the world a better place for everybody. Cyber technology has come to stay, with all its benefits as well as challenges. Continue reading E-lifestyle and Cyber Security: Some Views From Estonia
The war in Ukraine stands as a pressing test of Western commitment and resolve towards European security. But another security threat is emerging, with a real risk of rapid escalation. This new threat, emanating from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, pits Armenia and the Armenian-populated Karabakh against Azerbaijan. Continue reading Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Moves from Frozen to Kinetic
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
Parliamentary elections are a good time to evaluate the functioning of democracy in a country such as Albania. Continue reading Albania’s Election Apathy
It has been almost five years since the Georgian Dream’s (GD) substantial and unexpected victory in the parliamentary elections in Georgia. During these five years, the frenetic pace of events that defined much of the previous nine years, when the United National Movement (UNM) was in power, has ebbed. Continue reading Stuck in Neutral: Georgia’s Constitutional Reforms
Macedonia has a new coalition government comprised of SDSM (the former communist party) and two ethnic Albanian junior coalition partners: DUI (a party founded by the members of the local KLA) and DR-DPA (a coalition itself of smaller parties, led by the mayor of Struga). Continue reading Macedonia’s Controversial Coalition Government