This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Europe’s migration crisis: central Europe’s dangerous game

Should a serious migration crisis erupt as a result of conflict escalation in Ukraine, the odds are that the V4 would need assistance through exactly the kind of EU solidarity mechanism they now oppose.

Viktor Orban and the rise of the populist right...right?

Viktor Orban, like European populists in general, is neither of the right nor the left. He is a child of both.

"It takes broken bones": authoritarianism and violence against women in Hungary

Right-wing discourse in Hungarian politics is matched by the government’s regressive handling of gender issues, as structural violence against the socially marginalised interplays with violence against women.

Hungary: ruling in the guise of democracy

After 1989, within two decades, the hitherto ‘dormant’ authoritarian, leader-worshipping, order-obsessed right-wing mentality has gradually found its way to the surface. Its institutional shape is precisely impossible to define.

When the European moral vacuum meets Hungary’s autocratic regime

Hungary is obviously moving towards autocracy. But we have to ask ourselves two questions. Would it be useful for the EU to introduce measures against a country with democratic problems? Secondly, is Europe in the moral, political and economic state to be able to act? Both questions require thorough deliberation. 

How Hungary can be led back to the path of liberal democracy

What has led Hungary down the path of an 'illiberal democracy', and how can a potential crisis within the EU be averted?

Hungary's Fidesz and its 'Jewish Question'

Hungary’s Fidesz government may not have pursued a state-sponsored policy of anti-Semitism. However, it has indulged in outrageous historical revisionism; failed to censure anti-Semitism from high within its own ranks; and screwed up its official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary.

Brave new Hungary

Fidesz does not have any coherent ideology, but depending on the context, employs elements of various currents, mixing neo-conservative tropes (God, Patria, Family) with anti-globalization arguments (anti-corporation, anti-finance), classic populist slogans with anti-EU and anti-minority refrains echoed by extreme right groups.

On Roma murders in Hungary

Why did the police not take the investigation seriously at first? Why did the political elite need six victims to admit that these people were murdered because of their Roma identity, to acknowledge the neo-Nazi terrorist nature of their acts?

More Hungarys in eastern Europe?

Viktor Orbán is a perfect populist who exploits the chameleon nature of populism like no other, from radical liberalism to his new 'illiberal state'. Worryingly his bravado is becoming a source of inspiration for many other European politicians. But what is he after?

Hungarian despotism: Europe must act

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has openly vowed to turn the country into an ‘illiberal state’. Europe cannot let this happen.

Slow and steady: Hungary’s media clampdown

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, sent a frisson across the EU with his boast last weekend that he is building a “non-liberal” state, like in China, Russia or Turkey, free of “western European dogma”—but then his steady destruction of liberty in Hungary has gone largely unchallenged.

Struggle, dissent and debate: politics and memory in Europe

Especially in some European countries, dealing with the dark sides of one’s history has become a significant topos. Without such a change in cultures of commemoration of the different European countries, a European Union would have been impossible.

Judgment in Hungary

In 2008 and 2009, a group of Hungarian right-wing extremists committed a series of vicious attacks on members of the Roma community. Six people were killed, including a five year old boy. Film review.

Demand homes not jails: queer homelessness is being criminalized

Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.

The paradox of ethnic homogeneity - a Hungarian example

Hungarian nationalists have been trying to promote the idea that we are an "ethnically homogenous" people - an idea that is patently absurd!

A new (order) Ukraine? Assessing the relevance of Ukraine’s far right in an EU perspective

Now that the EU is ready to embrace the new Ukrainian government, investing at least one billion euros in the ‘revolutionized’ country, it is time to reinvestigate the question of far right influence in Ukraine.

As a Roma, integration means something different to me

A response to the recent statements by Ms. Viviane Reding, European Commissioner, on the situation of Roma and the need from their side to integrate and to have a normal way of living. Read more from our You Tell Us bloggers.

The conspiratorial mindset in Europe

Scepticism is healthy for democracy, but not when it degenerates into belief in conspiracy theories. Dieudonné and Jobbik are but two recent examples that the conspiratorial mindset is alive and well in Europe.

The ‘laboratory’ called Hungary: a challenge for understanding protest movements

There is a central Hungarian political paradox: it is the conservative governing party (FIDESZ) which has made successful use of the rhetoric of anti-establishment social movements in other countries, and which disposes of the means to do so. 

Winter chill over Hungary’s autumn

The only electoral promise Fidesz has fulfilled has been the “restoration of order”, through a myriad of laws, decrees and regulations, a particularly harsh new Penal Code and several new organizations.

Preventing more Hungarys – a stronger human rights architecture for the EU

The EU is becoming increasingly involved in policy areas that many consider the holy grail of national sovereignty. How did this come about? The short answer is: Hungary.

Hate is where the heart is: Time for Europe to confront anti-Gypsyism

It is time for the European Union to officially recognize anti-Gypsyism as a long-standing and deeply rooted form of European prejudice.

Higher education under threat in Hungary

The drastic higher education reforms the Hungarian government has introduced in the last months of 2012 have sparked nationwide protests. But while the government continues to implement contradictory reform, resistance from below is gaining ground.

Roma inclusion in 2012: no respite in prejudice

Does the EU deserve its Nobel Peace Prize? 2013 is the European Year of Citizens, dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship. It seems utterly remote and removed from the reality facing millions of Roma across the Union.  

Is Hungarian national heritage doomed?

Amid nationalist resurgence and severe recession in Hungary, many observers fear that the reforms undertaken by Viktor Orban's government in the cultural sector will severely jeopardize the country's heritage.

There and back again? Media freedom and autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe

Collusion between the press and politicians is not confined to western Europe. Central and Eastern European countries are also plagued by their own mini-Murdochs – and in these more fragile democracies, they represent an even bigger threat.

Hungary: the vanguard of Europe’s rearguard?

Confrontation takes creative and alternative forms in the street demonstrations, which may appear, at first sight, contradictory – one week anti-government, pro-European, the next week pro-government, anti-EU.

Failing Roma, again

Roma need to become respected but also responsible citizens in their own countries. There are solutions. But none of those solutions are immediate or cheap.

Myths of history, Euro-scepticism and fundamental rights

If we want to develop effective co-operation within and among the member states of the EU, history should be kept at a distance. Living in the past is not feasible, and this is equally true for Euro-scepticism, the application of human rights as well as the fight against racism and extremism.   

Democracy in Hungary: the defence of Fidesz

The author seeks a right to reply to the three recent anti-Fidesz articles carried by openDemocracy (by Anton PelinkaGábor Schein and László Bitó). Politics in Hungary, he argues, are indeed vehement and passionate – but also free

The voice of liberal democracy needs to be preserved in Hungary

When the Media Law of the authoritarian Hungarian government meets with strident criticism in the free press of the world, and from heads of established democracies, as a major attack on the freedom of speech, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his people ask for time, arguing against the avalanche of criticisms that no one should assume that the Media Council established in 2010 will abuse the unheard of powers with which it was endowed until it has shown an inclination to do so. Meanwhile they are eager to export their ideas.

Hungary's struggles for freedom and democracy

The greatest concern with regard to EU criticism aimed at influencing the political course of Hungary is that without a good understanding of the political realities, even the best intentions may unintentionally play into the hands of Jobbik. Meanwhile Government statements are meant to convince those who are disturbed by the usurpation of power to give up all hope for the next forty years. Now the situation is more complex and in a way more precarious than in 1956.

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