International Workshop on "Illiberal and Authoritarian Tendencies in Central, Eastern and Sutheastern Europe" took place in Munich
This RRPP co-funded workshop brought together some 25 scholars from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe who presented and discussed the recent alarming political developments in the related countries, clearly challenging the young post-communist democracies and transformation countries.
The workshop was launched with a keynote speech "The Rise of Threatened Majorities" by Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Krastev pointed out that the crisis of liberal democracy was not a regional but a global problem. The crisis was reflected in a shift of power within the international system: rising China, resurgent Russia, declining role of Western Europe, proliferation of armed conflicts. The general appeal of the market liberal democracy did not remain unquestioned; democracy and good governance were marred by an internal crisis of the western liberal democratic regimes, known as the "rise of populism".
Krastev discussed several pertinent questions, such as:
- What we got wrong regarding the basic nature of the post-communist period?
- How can the "self-compliant" West transform the rest of the world?
- How the rest of the world is going to change the West? To what extent the spread of Western power is changing the West itself?
This new perception of the EU politics constituted a very important, transformative change, according to the scholar; in the post-communist countries there was indeed no division on the refugee issue within political parties. This resentment towards accepting refugees has represented the local version of the popular revolt against globalization, it also has roots in history, demography and the twists of post-communist transitions.
After the conceptual part of the workshop, the research presentations followed.
Whereas the illiberal tendencies in Central Europe revolve around weakening Constitutional Court, focus on national sentiments, populism, EU-criticism, hollowing out state media, the authoritarian tendencies in Southeastern Europe revolve around ubiquitous informality, weak institutions, ethnic divisions. In Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, the question of oligarchy and lingering reforms are still valid.
The workshop initiated the joint commitment and effort towards a publication in the coming year 2017.