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Hungary, European Democracy, and the Rule of Law in the Age of Geopolitics

Panel Discussion
Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm

The outbreak of Russia’s war in Ukraine, with its international repercussions, has shaped new geopolitical realities and affected the continent in profound ways. It has put the unity of the European Union to the test and bolstered Member states’ security agenda in all dimensions. But the war in Ukraine is also, and perhaps above all, an ideological front in the global struggle for democracy. The world has indeed recorded a constant erosion of liberal democracy and worrisome surge of authoritarianism in the past ten years, including in Europe, where democratic values and the rule of law constitute the fundamental pillar upon which peace and cooperation have been built. With this ongoing war, the European Union is stepping in a world, in which its role, its interests and ideals will have to be defended. How should the EU balance the need to uphold its fundamental principles with the will to act as a geopolitical actor? How should it square the circle of security and democracy? How can it advance the rule of law more effectively, including in those Member states that stand out for non-complying with its most essential norms? How can it better promote progressive values and democratic standards?

This public discussion, organized by the Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (Vienna), the French Institute of International Relations (Paris), CEU Democracy Institute (Budapest) and Political Capital Institute (Budapest), will gather experts from France, Hungary and Austria.

If you would like to attend, please register here.


18:00   Welcome

  • Dietmar Schweisgut, Secretary General, Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe

18:05   Keynote speech

  • Peter Balazs, Professor Emeritus, Central European University

18:20   Discussion

  • Jacques Rupnik, Research Professor, CERI-Sciences Po, Paris
  • Ursula Plassnik, former Ambassador and Austrian Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Vienna
  • Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, Program Director, CEU Democracy Institute Leadership Academy, former member of the Hungarian Parliament
  • Peter Kreko, Director, Political Capital Institute, Hungary
  • Moderator: Paul Lendvai, Head of European Studio, ORF; columnist, “Der Standard” and author