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Declining Democracy in East-Central Europe

The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism

Attila Ágh

The dramatic decline of democracy in East-Central Europe has attracted great interest world-wide. Going beyond the narrow spectrum of the extensive literature on this topic, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of ECE region – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – from systemic change in 1989 to 2019 to explain the reasons of the collapse of ECE democratic systems in the 2010s.
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Chapter 4: The New World Order and the desecuritization process in ECE

Attila Ágh


Owing to their lack of crisis resilience, the ECE countries have felt a deep impact from the global crisis, but it has remained a ‘forgotten crisis’ for the West, which has marginalized it. The New World Order provoked controversial EU crisis management, producing an eruption of neopopulism in the EU. Thus, the early years of the NWO were an age of uncertainty, in which the EU dealt only with the priorities of the core. This situation produced the Juncker paradox for ECE, because paradoxically the neglect of a special ECE crisis management was markedly counter-productive. It has resulted in the increasing alienation of the ‘East’ and widened the manoeuvring room of Eurosceptic ECE governments. In the second stage of ECE developments, the core–periphery divide deepened in the EU with the victory of hard populism and its traditionalist-nativist narrative.

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