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PPR Seminar - 'The Unseen EU Crisis: Economic and Democratic Collapse in Hungary'

Date: 21 March 2012 Time: 4.00-6.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR20

While the gaze of the international media has been fixed on the continuing disaster and trauma in Greece (and the potential crises in Portugal, Italy and Spain), an unseen crisis has been developing in Hungary!

Until 2006, Hungary's transition to democracy and capitalism seemed to be on the right path. It used to be one of Eastern Europe's best economic performers before it was hit hard by the global economic slowdown. Since then, Hungary has been on the brink of bankruptcy and, more worryingly, has taken what many perceive of as a turn toward autocratic government. In particular, since 2010 Hungary's centre-right government (with its two-thirds supermajority in Parliament) has pushed through sweeping legislative measures that have radically reshaped the government, the judiciary, the electoral system and the media in a process that has raised democratic concerns across the continent.

My first-hand report on the Hungarian political situation will stress that in countries, such as Hungary, with weak democratic traditions, the government's misuse of power during periods of crisis - ignoring compromise, dialogue, and political participation - not only weakens the economy but undermines democratic institutions as well. This demonstrates how slow and uncertain it can be for post-authoritarian societies to internalize democratic values and that liberal democracy cannot be taken for granted, not even inside the European Union.


Peter Lapos is a recent Lancaster alumnus who majored in Politics and International Relations and then obtained a Master's degree at Central European University in Political Science. Since 2010, he has been working for the Hungarian Green Party Lehet Más a Politika - LMP, responsible for the development of agricultural policy and has been actively protesting against the current changes in Hungary.


Who can attend: Anyone


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