From Democratic Backsliding to Dictatorship in the Time of Corona? – Online
In recent years, the EU has tolerated backsliding on rule of law and democracy in Hungary, Poland and some other member states. Its responses have been, for the most part, feeble and ineffectual. In a recent article on the EU’s “authoritarian equilibrium” I explored how hybrid authoritarian regimes are able to thrive within the EU. In concluding, I noted that, “While EU membership may not assure that member states remain democracies, it will likely prevent them from becoming full-blown dictatorships.” However, recent developments in Hungary suggest this may have been an overly optimistic conclusion. The Orban government has exploited the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to introduce sweeping emergency powers that enable it to rule by decree indefinitely. In other words, it has moved from electoral autocracy to outright dictatorship. Thus far, the EU’s response has been muted. There is a risk that other governments may take Orbán’s cue and make similar (if less egregious) moves. This webinar will explore the political and legal developments that brought the EU to the point where it is home to a blatantly autocratic government, and assess the prospects for any EU response.
Moderator: Alex Andrione-Moylan (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies)