Hungary’s Drift to What?
Robert C Austin
Associate Director and Professor, CERES
Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
University of Toronto
In 2010, Viktor Orbán began his second mandate as Hungarian Prime Minister. Since that, “Revolution at the Polls” Orbán’s Fidesz Party has transformed Hungary politically and economically by winning super majorities in the subsequent parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2018. This new political system has been extremely controversial and has often put Hungary at odds with the European Union (EU) over everything from migration to George Soros to Covid-19. Nevertheless, Orbán has persisted in his efforts to not only remake Hungary but also offer a new sovereigntist and nationalist agenda for other EU member states. This lecture evaluates the major changes under Hungary’s system of “national cooperation” and the prospects for democracy overall. In short, is Hungarian democracy dead and does it even matter for Europe’s future?
Robert C Austin (PhD University of Toronto) is a specialist on East Central and Southeastern Europe in historic and contemporary perspective. In the past, Austin was a Tirana-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; a Slovak-based correspondent with The Economist Group of Publications; and a news writer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto. Austin has written articles for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Southeast European Times, Orbis, East European Politics and Societies and East European Quarterly along with numerous book chapters and two books published separately in Tirana and Prishtina. He has lectured widely in Europe and North America. His most recent book, “Making and Remaking the Balkans: Nations and States since 1878”, was published with the University of Toronto Press in May 2019. He is now writing a popular history of Central Europe since 1848. At CERES, he coordinates the Undergraduate and Graduate European Studies Program, the Hellenic Studies Program and the Hungarian Studies Program.