Russia between Europe and Authoritarianism: New developments addressed from an liberal perspective 

On the day of the 100 anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Russian experts gave their assessment of the current state of Russia in the framework of an FNF event. Professors and researchers discussed the economic and political situation as well as the relationship with the European Union from different perspectives. 

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Filipinos’ Dreams Come Alive in Comics!

With “Animate Europe” we are bringing Europe to life through comics. Our international comic comeptition is currently running in it’s third round (you can enter until 5. February).
However, within the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, we’re not the only ones using the “Ninth art” to spread ideas and messages. Find out what our colleagues in the Philippines are doing:

19 young artists from all over the Philippines shared their dreams for the country in a comic strip!

The Philippine Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) launched its very first comics competition dubbed as ‘I Am Free To Dream’ on 22 June 2015, which aims to exhibit Filipinos’ dreams and aspirations for the Philippines, especially those wishes that ordinary citizens can contribute to making real.


“Filipinos are very creative, not only in drawing but in everyday life – they find ingenious ways to enjoy their freedom!,” said former FNF Country Director Jules Maaten. “The aspirations that the artists sketched for I Am Free To Dream contest are realizable because there is freedom in the Philippines that allow people to pursue their dreams. This is why we should always value our freedom especially when it is challenged,” he added.

The comics contest was organized under the banner of FNF Philippines’ Freedom Project, an annual search for initiatives that promote freedom in the Philippines. The top three artworks, along with the eight finalists’ were printed in a book as a chronicle of how Filipinos would like to see the Philippines in five years. The common theme of the winning entries turned out to be a ‘nation that has greater freedom, and Filipinos that are more responsible.’


On January 12, 2016, the results were released proclaiming the following winners: the entry by Harold Dela Rosa of Talavera, Nueva Ecija (northern part of the Philippines) emerged as the best artwork. Patrick Acma’s (Iloilo) comics on transforming communities through education, and Freddie Vicente’s (Bulacan) illustration on preserving culture and tradition were awarded as second and third place respectively. “They were all very well done, and speak of practical action,” commended Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina, who was a member of the contest’s jury.

Medina, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Kael Co, and top advertising agency Lowe Philippines Creative Director Rene Dominguez sat as judges.

The young and talented participants were grateful to have been given a platform by which they could voice-out their dreams for themselves and for the Philippines. FNF Philippines recognizes the power of both the youth and the arts in transforming societies.

Participants were required to submit comics entries that are at least two pages, and a maximum of four pages. The text could be either be in English or Filipino. The entry must be submitted together with a one line description. Professional and amateur artists, teachers and students were eligible to join. National and international entries were welcomed. Aside from seeing the best artworks published in a book, the finalists received cash prizes.

Following the success of the I am Free to Dream Comics Competition, FNF Philippines collaborated with the comics genius and member of the jury of ‘I am Free To Dream’ Comic Competition, Mr. Pol Medina, in compiling his comic strips on Martial Law in one Marcos Special comic book.


“FNF is lucky that Polgas, the famous character of the Pugad Baboy Comics series, is joining the bark against Martial Law. Pol Medina cleverly illustrates the threats of an authoritarian comeback. This book is a smart analysis of what have become of people’s attitudes – their forgetfulness of the atrocities of the past, and their unconscious willingness to give up their freedom,” said former FNF Country Director Jules Maaten.

“We should do what we can to preserve freedom while we are still free,” said Medina at the launch on 14 April 2016 at Plaza Ibarra, Quezon City. In the cover page of his book he wrote: “It wasn’t really my plan to come up with a compilation of anti-Marcos comics, but people kept posting on my facebook page about the glory days of Martial Law. To me, this is like spitting on the victims of atrocities, and this itched me to do something, hence this book.”

Medina first published Pugad Baboy in 1988, and has since become a representation of Filipinos sentiments on political and social issue, and a reflection of the pop culture.

“FNF Philippines looks forward to more initiatives and partnerships that the ‘I am Free to Dream’ Comics and the Pugad Baboy Marcos Special Comics have already started. Filipinos’ talent, ingenuity and love for freedom are astonishing and should be no less than promoted,” adds the current FNF Philippines Country Director Mr. Wolfgang Heinze,


I Am Free to Dream Comics and Pugad Baboy Marcos Special Comics are available upon request. Should you wish to receive a copy, please email FNF Philippines at or send a message on FNF Philippines’ facebook fan page – FNF Philippines: It’s All About Freedom.

It’s complicated: The EU and the Rule of Law in Poland

Following the Reform of the Polish Constitutional Court in December 2015, the EU launched its “Rule of Law Dialogue” to restore the independence of the Polish judiciary. The Dialogue between Poland and the EU has since been ongoing, but it takes two to tango and so far the two parties have not gotten much closer to a solution acceptable to both sides. In Poland the opposition has showed its disdain for the December Constitutional Reforms and thousands of demonstrators have marched in the streets in opposition to the move by Poland`s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). On May 23 it was expected that the EU would deliver a scathing Opinion on the status quo in Poland, but instead the European Commission took the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to “constructive dialogue”. Continue reading

Upcoming event: Goulash and a Book – “‘Hello, Dictator!’ – Hungary under Viktor Orbán”

Handshake between Viktor Orbán, on the left, and Jean-Claude Juncker
Handshake between Viktor Orbán, on the left, and Jean-Claude Juncker © European Union , 2015 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart

Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Time: 19.00 – 21.00

Venue: Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit, 71 Avenue de Cortenbergh, 1000 Brussels

 About the event:
Hungary is at odds with European democratic values, yet the EU has so far been unable to take action against the Hungarian      government. Meanwhile Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán is making life increasingly difficult for civil society and the media while at the same time pocketing Forint by Forint and undermining democracy and the rule of law. Continue reading

The heat stays on: Poland in constitutional turmoil

Threatened by terrorism and bewilderedly searching for solutions to the refugee crisis it is not a given that Poland’s constitutional crisis should continue to make headlines in the EU. However, the focus has persisted, in realization that Poland plays such a central role in Europe that to allow the country to go the way of Hungary would be devastating to the European project. Since the European Commission decided to evoke the Rule of Law Mechanism and start a probe of the situation, months have passed. Continue reading

Upcoming Event: Which way forward, Poland?”

Source: flickr/arriens

Monday, 4 April 2016, 12.00-14.00

Venue: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Avenue de Cortenbergh 71, 1000 Brussels

About the event:
The debate on the recent political developments in Poland is simmering down after nearing boiling point following the EU Commission’s decision to probe into the PiS government’s new laws. Some commentators fear that the country will follow the example of Victor Orbán’s Hungary; others blame Europe’s political elite for disillusionment among the Polish voters; again others brush off international criticism, stressing Poland’s national sovereignty. Continue reading

“Diese Regierung ignoriert alle” – Ein Gespräch mit jungen Nowoczesna-Abgeordneten

Die zwei jungen Sejm-Abgeordneten von Polens liberalen Partei Nowoczesna, Adam Szłapka und Monika Rosa, erläutern im Gespräch mit unserem Mitteleuropa-Experten Dr. Borek Severa die Verfassungskrise in Polen.

Source: Wikimedia Commons / Adrian Grycuk

Die Venedig-Kommission des Europarates warnt vor dem Niedergang der Demokratie, der Menschenrechte und der Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Polen. Letzte Woche wies das polnische Verfassungsgericht das PiS-Gesetz zurück, das die Funktionsfähigkeit des Gerichts massiv beeinträchtigen würde. Doch die Regierung scheint durch die Urteile unbeeindruckt zu sein. Erwarten Sie, dass die Regierung schließlich aufhören wird, die Grundsätze der Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Polen unterzugraben?

Diese Regierung ignoriert alle: die Opposition, die Anwälte und Rechtsexperten und die Bürger, die die Rechtsstaatlichkeit zurück wollen. Die Venedig-Kommission sagte, dass die polnische Demokratie durch die Maßnahmen der Regierung, die das Verfassungsgericht lähmen, bedroht ist. Die Regierung hat gegen die drei Grundregeln des Europarates verstoßen: Demokratie, Menschenrechte und Rechtsstaatlichkeit. Continue reading