This is the first installment of a series of commentaries produced by The Barricade and The Analysis in collaboration. Journalists from Bulgarian, Romanian, and Polish left-wing media gather to discuss the situation in Eastern Europe and offer their opinions on the most important events. Leave your thoughts in the comments section. With the next panel, we’ll be back with Paul Jay in September. This episodes features Maria Cernat, Malgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat, Vladimir Mitev and Boyan Stanislavski.
The main topic of today’s discussion is authoritarianism, particularly new authoritarian tendencies in Europe, the EU, and, most notably, Eastern Europe; and this is why all four of us here have been invited to speak on the subject because this is the region from which we all hail and with which we are most familiar. In recent years, some European leaders have expressed concern about democratic backsliding and creeping authoritarianism in some member states. As a result, in late 2020, the EU created a new mechanism that ties allotments of union funds to EU member states’ adherence to the rule of law.
The gradual autocratization of political regimes around the world, which is now widely recognized, poses a threat to the EU’s founding values and foreign policy objectives. The EU has struggled for years to respond to the rise of autocracy in Europe, particularly in Hungary. Sending EU funds to governments that undermined democracy, human rights, and the rule of law exacerbated the problem. The new rule of law conditionality aims to improve the EU’s toolkit and respond to these trends. However, for the time being, it does not appear to be going away; the EU remains a barking dog that does not bite. Is the EU, on the other hand, our only hope? Those who believe authoritarian reactionary tendencies pose a political threat. Especially in light of the EU’s own authoritarianism, which is the silent partner. Instead, we’re bombarded with anti-Russian and anti-Chinese rhetoric.
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