Democracy in 'New Europe': Reversed Consolidation

Panel Discussion


Grigore Pop-Eleches, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Jason Wittnberg, University of California, Berkeley
Milada Vaduchova, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Patricia Young, Stanford University
Kathryn Stoner, Stanford University

Date and Time

February 21, 2013 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM April 19.


Landau Economics Building, SIEPHR conference room A

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Until recently, democracies in new European Union members and aspirants were believed to be on their way to consolidation. Nonetheless, the recent financial crisis has had important political implications, with renewed fears of instability and even reversal of democratic gains. In Hungary, the Fidesz government has changed the Constitution and the electoral system, and has fired more than 10,000 government employees amid complaints of political discrimination. In Romania, austerity measures have led to in-fighting between the president and the parliament-backed prime minister, resulting in a failed attempt to impeach the president, and EU concerns over government attacks on the independence of the Constitutional Court. Moreover, the December 9, 2012, Romanian elections have dealt a decisive victory to the prime minister’s Social Liberal Union, which will likely make co-habitation with the current president crisis-prone. Bulgaria is another recently admitted EU member wherein concerns over the rule of law negatively affected democratic performance, while Serbia has recently elected a nationalist government with connections to the Milosevic regime. These developments raise doubts over the sustainability of New Europe’s democratic gains, and warrant a reassessment of the consolidation of these democracies.



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