Quo Vadis Hungary? 

What has happened in Hungary since the adoption of the controversial emergency law?

 

 

The “Coronavirus Law” adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 30th March did not only enable Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to govern by decree for an unlimited period of time, but also suspended elections and referendums. With the passing of the emergency law, the parliament controlled by Orbán’s right-wing conservative Fidesz party had disempowered itself. The law also provides for prison sentences of several years for the dissemination of false news as well as for news that could cause panic. This emergency law has somewhat distracted the public from the fact that the dismantling of fundamental freedoms is not only being pursued under the banner of the fight against corona, but is continuing on all fronts.

What has Hungary as a whole been doing since the so-called “Enabling Act” was adopted by Parliament? Here is a chronicle of events: Continue reading

Europe Today – Remaining Confident, Becoming More Sovereign 

New EU states

 

Europe in May 1945: a destroyed continent, over 50 million war victims, tens of millions of refugees, uprooted and injured. Hunger, devastated lands and torn societies. Continuing civil wars and partisan fights in Italy, the Balkans, Greece and Eastern Europe. A political geography of failed states with dysfunctional judicial and financial systems, mistrust and a desire for revenge between neighbouring states.

Europe in May 2020: A continent in corona lockdown, Brexit on the doorstep, a difficult transatlantic partner, China as a rival gaining influence, deep mistrust of neighbour Russia, which is waging a hot war in Europe. Climate change and migration as megatopics challenging Europe’s material and political resources.

Is Europe finished? No, because Europe today is also the following: one of the three largest economic areas in the world, winner of the Cold War in the 20th century, a community of continuously developing and expanding work of peace and prosperity by former enemies of war. Europe, that is the reality of a deeply integrated area of economy and law, of learning and research, of free encounters and free speech. A place of longing for millions who want to escape misery and make the dream of a better life come true.

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Czech Republic: Court Puts Government in its Place 

Judges declare restrictive measures unlawful

 

 

With the introduction of a travel ban for its own citizens, the Czech measures to contain the corona epidemic have so far been among the strictest in Europe. Two weeks ago, the Prague City Court overturned four measures taken by the Czech Ministry of Health that restricted the free movement of citizens and retailers. A number of lawyers believe that this ruling increases the chances of businessmen and entrepreneurs to claim compensation from the state. Some legal experts also stress that the Czech government must provide more detailed justification explaining the need for the significant restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms. Continue reading

Animate Europe Presents: Animating COVID-19 

 

Europe in times of coronavirus – captured in fourteen graphic stories

Since 2013, our Animate Europe comic competition has been a vivid platform for cultural and artistic approaches to and exchange on European realities. Amidst the current situation, we are launching a special Animate Europe project: Animating COVID-19.

In-between competitions (the next round of Animate Europe is scheduled for 2021), we asked seven of our previous finalists to capture their creative interpretations of fundamental European questions during the coronavirus pandemic in on-page comics. Continue reading

Democracy – a Covid Collateral? 

Opinion Piece by Irina von Wiese

EU

 

Now, rather than after the end of the Covid-19 crisis, is the time for pro-democratic parties to act. Paralysed by the scale of the current threat, we are tempted to stick our heads in the sand and focus on survival. This is exactly what others are hoping for. They are seizing the moment, building on today’s fear to instil tomorrow’s obedience. If we don’t take care, much of the damage done to basic rights, democracy and the rule of law will be irreversible. Continue reading