Publications of Végh, Zsuzsanna

Frontiers of Democracy: Embedding Democratic Values in Central and Eastern Europe. Good practices and limits of transferability

Democratization is a complex process that entails both critical choices of new institutions, and the rooting of those institutions in the societal ethos. Much of the literature on democratic transition, consolidation and Europeanization has been dominated by the study of legal and institutional crafting, especially concerning the post-communist and post-Soviet countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where not only political but also economic and social institutions had to be created in the process of the fundamental transformations taking place after 1989. However, the footprint of a healthy democracy cannot be measured only in terms of institutional performance. It has to also include citizens’ attitudes to and engagement with the new institutions, and, in fact, a general change of mentality that reflects their attachment to the new system. It is people’s attachment to democratic values that may keep governments in check and preclude them from slipping toward populist and antidemocratic measures, when the possibility and temptation to reshape democratic institutions arise. This volume, focusing on embedding democratic values through the process of democratic transition in the four Visegrad countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and in Ukraine and Moldova, is the outcome of the project titled “Frontiers of Democracy: Embedding Democratic Values in Moldova and Ukraine” led by the Center for European Neighborhood Studies of the Central European University, and implemented in cooperation with the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, the Foreign Policy Association of Moldova, the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, the Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association and the Kosciuszko Institute. Beyond a general overview about how democratic values become rooted in societies during transition and specifically during transition in Central and Eastern Europe, the chapters of this volume discuss youth political participation and socialization, civic education, the role of media in democratization and the development of values such as tolerance and diversity, or transparency and accountability. The book was published with the kind support of the International Visegrad Fund.

What do Hungarian Foreign Policy Stakeholders Think?

The online opinion survey of the “Visegrad Foreign Policy Trends 2015” project was conducted between July and September 2015 with the goal of assessing what views various foreign policy stakeholders (politicians, civil servants, experts, analysts, journalists, business representatives) hold in the four Visegrad states concerning their country‟s foreign policy, its allies, priorities and activities in certain thematic areas of current affairs. The results of the survey do not only present a unique insight into stakeholders‟ perception about their own country‟s foreign policy, but also provide a comparative overview of how foreign policy elites approach contemporary challenges and to what extent foreign policy thinking and identity is similar in the four countries. This report summarizes the key Hungarian results of the survey, while also providing a brief regional comparison concerning how stakeholders from the other three Visegrad countries think about their own countries‟ foreign policy, the future of the European Union, and the functioning of the Visegrad Group.

Should We Upgrade the V4-Turkey Dialogue?

At a time when the Visegrad Group (V4) is becoming a more ambitious regional bloc, several policymakers and analysts have floated the idea of deepening a dialogue with Turkey, a country of tremendous importance for the EU, and one that is enjoying unprecedented interest of policymakers, business circles and publics at large. A new report prepared by Czech, Hungarian, Slovak and Polish researchers and kindly supported by the International Visegrad Fund explores possible areas of upgraded cooperation. The report argues that the V4+Turkey consultative format offers a number of opportunities and the group should mainly focus on the identification of the niches they can occupy to further improve EU-Turkey relations. The EU is a crucial framework for addressing all major policy areas of interest for the V4, including energy, trade, foreign and development policy in the EU neighborhoods and the management of the refugee crisis. Importantly, Turkey’s EU accession process is still the best tool for deepening a mutual relationship, since it can strengthen the country’s democratic institutions and facilitate the establishment of the functional tools for foreign policy coordination.

Eastern Partnership beyond the Riga Summit: Rethinking Cooperation

The European Union could not effectively adjust the tools and instruments of the Eastern Partnership program to the different paths the six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) have embarked on over the past few years. To remain a relevant actor in the post-Soviet space able to promote its values while fostering political and economic relations with its neighbors, Brussels and the member states need to review and reform their approach to the eastern neighborhood. Recognizing this necessity, the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) recently initiated a review process of the EU’s neighborhood policy as a whole. The present position paper seeks to contribute to this process and add to the discussion on how the EU and its member states should shape their approach to the region in the future.