Illiberal challenges to the future of the political union

Institute of Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna – Sala di Lorenzo il Magnifico, Palazzo Vecchio

Festival d’Europa Photo Gallery

Europe and the European Union are confronted with one of their most serious challenges to date, that go to the very core of its values – challenges to its democratic political culture and the rule of law.
In certain member states the far right has gained a foothold and authoritarian, sovereignist leaders are purporting to “save” Europe by bringing it back to its traditionalist (pre-Enlightenment) roots – a Europe in which “internationalism” will be subordinated to nation states.
This side event will discuss these issues during two consecutive panels. Speakers shall address these challenges in light of the concurrent internal and external challenges Europe and the EU are facing. Immigration and demographic angst and decline have been singled out as drivers of populist, nationalist, identitarian politics. The long period of peace in Europe seems to have blunted the political nerve endings of those standing for a democratic Europe. How strongly are they responding to the challenge? Will European democratic forces find the necessary energy and organizational capacity to counter these retrograde forces that threaten to bring back Europe’s dark times.

Panel 1: Democratic regression in Europe: How damaging is the populist challenge to democracy?

Ivan Vejvoda, Institute for Human Sciences, ViennaSpeakers:

Piotr Buras, European Council on Foreign Relations, Warsaw
Gabor Halmai, European University Institute, Florence
Gerald Knaus, European Stability Initiative, Berlin
Rosa Balfour, German Marshall Fund, Brussels

Panel 2: What is to be done? The Politics of Democracy from Above and Below

Tim Judah, The Economist, London

Luke Cooper, Anglia Ruskin University, London
Stefan Lehne, Carnegie Europe, Brussels/Vienna
Zsuzsana Szelenyi, Fmr Hungarian MP, Budapest

Contact: Dino Pašalić, Institute of Human Sciences