European Atlas of Democratic Deficit

05. Dec 2017
Warsaw, Poland
The aim of the Atlas was to create a map of democratic deficit in Europe. It provides a systematic assessment of Europe’s democratic performance, analysing the performance of the 28 member states. Each state is analysed on 2 pages. Each analysis is made by an expert from a liberal organisation/think-tank from the country. During the lanch event we will focus on Central Europe, that has been seen recently as an enfant terrible of Europe, where all the deficits accumulated. Speakers from Poland, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia will share their perspective on the region and draw scenarios for the future.

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    The launch event of the ELF publication “European Atlas of Democratic Deficit” was organised by ELF with support of Projekt: Polska in Warsaw, Poland, on December 5th, 2017. The event took place in Państwomiasto, Warsaw cafe/hub popular among NGO activists.

    The event gathered around 40 participants, among them 3 MPs of Nowoczesna.

    It started with a word of welcome and an introduction by Milosz Hodun, editor of the publication and international officer of Projekt: Polska.

    The introduction was followed by panel discussion of the democratic deficit in Central Europe with participation of Stefan Windberger, international officer of NEOS (Austria), Andars Radnoti, analysit from Momentum (Hungary) and Zuzanna Papazovski, programme director in Central Europe of NDI (Slovakia).

    Stefan Windberger from Austria started with telling a story about the country’s democratic deficit in the area of media. ‘On a per capita basis, Austria has the second highest level of public subsidies for political parties in the whole world.’ He described Austrian media as a powerful institution that is living in a total symbiosis with politics.

    Andars Radnoti commented on the current situation in Hungary and need to build real democratic institutions. He stressed the role of the government that can do a lot by limiting its own power and by communicating with citizens in an inclusive manner. ‘Only by articulating positive political identities and encouraging active citizenship can the inactive vote be galvanised — and since his regime depends on low participation, that is how Viktor Orbán can be toppled’.

    Zuzana Papazovski reflected on the situation in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic. From one side she stressed peculiarities of a situation when namely liberal prime-minister-to-be Adriej Babis is described as European Trump or Berlusconi. From the other side she commented on Slovakia where prime minister Fico transformed from a leader seen as a leftist populist to a new hope of the constructive movement in the Union.

    The discussion between the panellists concentrated in questions of the future of the V4 Group, possible integration of the Group with Kurz’s Austria and alternatives to Orban-Kaczynski’s vision of Europe, for example one that the New Central Europe initiative can offer.

    The discussion was followed by a reception.

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