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Policy Paper: Defending liberal democracy

Dale Pike / Unsplash
Dale Pike / Unsplash

Democracy and the rule of law have been eroding in Hungary since 2010. In view of Hungary's tendencies towards autocratization, the policy paper contains recommendations on how the German government should respond bilaterally, multilaterally, and at the EU level.

Although Hungary is a member state of the European Union (EU), it is no longer a functioning democracy, according to the established indices of democracy. For years, the EU and Viktor Orbán's government have been in conflict about Hungary’s democratic regression. The EU is pushing for compliance with the fundamental European values of the rule of law, separation of powers, democracy and human rights. Orbán, on the other hand, insists on Hungary’s national sovereignty as an ‘illiberal’ democracy. The member states must also react to Hungary. For a long time, the German government behaved rather cautiously in the conflict with Budapest − particularly due to intensive economic ties.

Against this background, the policy paper presents six policy recommendations to the German government to not only address but − if possible − even improve the situation of rule of law and democracy in Hungary. They refer to the national level and bilateral relations between Germany and Hungary as well as to the EU level.

Since the beginning of 2023, the IEP has been networking stakeholders from German politics, business, academia and civil society in the project “Ungarn neu Hungary − rethink Hungary” in order to jointly debate challenges and possible solutions in the face of Hungary's democratic regression.

Team & authors

About the Ungarn neu denken – rethink Hungary project: The relationship between the EU and Hungary is strained because of the situation regarding the rule of law. What is Germany's role in this after the "Zeitenwende"? The IEP is creating a dialog format for German stakeholders from politics, business and civil society.

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