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Democratic backsliding in Europe

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Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
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This book explores the emergence, and in Poland, Hungary, and Russia the coming to power, of politicians and political parties rejecting the consensus around market reforms, democratization, and rule of law that has characterized moves toward an "open society" from the 1990s. It discusses how over the last decade these political actors, together with various think tanks, intellectual circles, and religious actors, have increasingly presented themselves as "conservatives," and outlines how these actors are developing a new local brand of conservatism as a full-fledged ideology that counters the perceived liberal overemphasis on individual rights and freedom, and differs from the ideology of the established, present-day conservative parties of Western Europe. Overall, the book argues that the "renaissance of conservatism" in these countries represents variations on a new, illiberal conservatism that aims to re-establish a strong state sovereignty defining and pursuing a national path of development.
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
added 2 research items
Multifaceted in its character, the relationship between Poland and the European Union is now more than a quarter of a century old. After the breakdown of the Eastern bloc, Poland signed the Association Agreement with the then European Communities in December 1991, which led up to an EU membership application three years later. Not yet a member, the country had some impact on the Union in the Nice Treaty negotiations (2000–2001), as well as on the European Constitutional Convention proceedings (2001– 2003). After a successful EU membership referendum in 2003, reflecting a great deal of societal support, Poland, along with nine other newcomers, became a fully-fledged member of the EU. Once within the bloc, Warsaw was at pains to develop a more coherent EU policy, as it often changed its positions between more collaborative approaches and veto threats, but also absolving a successful rotating EU Council presidency in 2011. The country collaborated with other member states in Central and Eastern Europe—in the Visegrád framework and with the older member states—through the Weimar Triangle, for example, however with sometimes mixed results. Poland has prioritized a number of issues in the EU such as the energy sector, security and defense, and the Eastern partnership, the latter focusing on the EU Eastern neighbors, including Ukraine and Belarus. In particular, during the Ukraine-Russia conflict of 2014–2015, Poland was one of most active actors in the EU foreign policy. However, since 2015 Poland has become a subject of controversy within the EU, regarding the rule of law standards that were criticized by the European Commission and Warsaw’s rejection of a relocation scheme in the EU refugee and migrant policy
Der Aufsatz analysiert Politisierung am Beispiel der Europabilder im politischen Diskurs der Dritten Republik Polen (1990-2016). Ausgehend von einer Phasenheuristik der polnischen Europapolitik (Adaption, Konfrontation, Kooperation und Souveränismus) wird argumentiert, dass die Phasen nicht allein mit variierenden innenpolitischen Machtverhältnissen erklärt werden können. Demzufolge wird die Dynamik der europapolitischen Vorstellungen in Polen unter die Lupe genommen, weil damit unterschiedliche Politisierungspotenziale einhergehen können. Bevor diese analysiert werden, wird zunächst der theoretische Zugang über das Konzept der Europabilder vorgestellt. Im Anschluss daran werden zwei Fallbeispiele untersucht, die in die beiden kontroversen Phasen der Konfrontation und des Souveränismus fallen und damit ein hohes Maß an Polarisierung erwarten lassen: die Debatte um den Europäischen Verfassungsvertrag (2005) sowie die Ostpolitik im Zuge des Ukrainekriegs (2014). Der polnische Fall bestätigt, dass die primären Politisierungsagenten politische Parteien sind. Durch die starke Polarisierung polnischer Europabilder können sie einerseits unterschiedliche Stimmungen in der Bevölkerung gut wiederspiegeln. Andererseits sorgt die Polarisierung dafür, dass die Politisierungsdynamik auch innerhalb ein und derselben Partei sehr hoch sein kann und die Europabilder eine hohe Volatilität aufweisen.
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
added a research item
Der EuGH hat sich mangels einer klaren Definition der Rechtsstaatlichkeit im EU-Recht immer wieder auf allgemeine rechtliche Regeln berufen, die in Rechtsstaaten vorkommen und den Verfassungstraditionen der Mitgliedsstaaten gemeinsam sind. Damit hat der EuGH eine „Dachfunktion“ der EU in Bezug auf die Rechtstaatlichkeit anerkannt, da die definitorischen Quellen der Rechtsstaatlichkeit in den Mitgliedstaaten selbst verortet werden. Dies hat unter anderem zur Folge, dass das Verfahren bei der Verletzung der Rechtsstaatlichkeit nach Art. 7 und Art. 49 des EU-Vertrages eher einer politischen und weniger einer rechtlichen Logik folgt. Damit unterliegt die endgültige Entscheidung über die Anwendung oder Unterlassung von Sanktionen gegenüber den Mitgliedstaaten (ähnlich wie die Zustimmung zum EU-Beitritt eines Kandidatenstaates, bei dem die Grundsätze der Rechtstaatlichkeit ebenfalls eine wichtige Rolle spielen) vor allem EU-politischen, geopolitischen oder wirtschaftsutilitaristischen Kriterien.
Roland Benedikter
added a research item
This is a four-part series of articles on Poland’s, Hungary’s and the Czech Republic’s perilous play with the EU’s refugee relocation agreement.
Roland Benedikter
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There is a discourse in Europe's current academic and political debate about growing anti-Europeanism linked to anti-globalization in the Central Eastern European (CEE) region. Football culture in the European Union's East, particularly Poland, is perceived as symptom of such trend. Many of the local fan groups, although belonging to very different ideological and social stripes, conceive their actions more often than hooligans in other European nations as openly political - i.e. mainly as a form of resistance. "Resistance against the system" - including the national, the European and the global "systems" - is their unifying bond. In most cases, resistance against one of these systems means to automatically oppose the other two too. To understand this particular embedment of football as a contextual political factor in the public sphere of Central Eastern Europe, which is causing domestic turmoil and negative perceptions in other European nations and worldwide, one has to understand the political, social and cultural role of Europe's most popular sport in the former "Eastern Bloc" during the 45 communist years 1945-1990.
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
added 2 research items
This analytical essay is a short investigation into the narrative that there are new “rouge states” in Central Eastern Europe (CEE), namely Poland and Hungary. The text discusses the politically relevant backgrounds as well as pros and cons of such an imaginary and the perspectives in the framework of Europe’s current critical transition.