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Confronting illiberalism in Europe – What the EU can learn from its approach to Hungary and Poland to tackle future violations of democracy

Research Paper by Dawid Aristotelis Fusiek

17.10.2023


Abstract

The analysis show how the EU can improve its approach to Hungary and Poland and tackle future violations of democracy

Over the past years, the quality of democracy has deteriorated the most in Hungary and Poland of any other Member State in the EU. The EU has responded triggering the rule of conditionality mechanism against Hungary and imposing fines on Poland. These efforts have pushed both countries to make some reforms but have not fully addressed their illiberal tendencies. The paper thus argues that the EU should maintain pressure on Hungary and demand strict implementation of suggested remedial measures. Similarly, triggering the rule of law conditionality mechanism against Poland is necessary. The EU could continue to leverage funds strategically, as it has proven the most effective measure, and exploit the divide between Hungary and Poland over Russia's stance on Ukraine. The EU must also strengthen the rule of law mechanism by establishing clear recommendations, linking it to more EU funds, and implementing a monitoring procedure. The depoliticisation of the rule of law is also necessary as well as the revisiting of the unanimity rule in EU decision- making. The EU should also encourage Hungary and Poland to participate in independent EU institutions, support domestic catalysts of democracy, and improve funding access for independent media and civil society.

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About the author

Alumnus of the Utrecht University and of University of Piraeus, Dawid Aristotelis Fusiek has an eclectic background in European Affairs, International Relations and History. Over the last years, he has collaborated with various think tanks all over Europe, worked with European institutions, and has published articles and research papers ranging from EU foreign policy and security studies to political philosophy.


#democracy #Hungary #Poland #ruleoflaw #instituionalreforms #democracybuilding #europeanforeignpolicy #europeangeopolitics #easterneurope


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