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Eastern Europe’s Davos

Eastern Europe’s Davos

Play Inc. executive Jorg Bang-Jensen has reason to smile. The CEO of Poland’s fourth largest mobile operator has been able to report “steady growth” since the company started operations just six months before the financial crisis.   Now, the question is, “Is the crisis over?” dominated  discussion at Central Europe’s annual gathering of economic futurists […]

Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Peace, Quiet & Kaczynski

Whether it’s the influence of the silly season, the unusual heat wave, or the successful campaign of nationalist populism across Central Europe, international media such as The New York Times and El Pais, have again started to pay some attention to the leader of the Polish conservatives, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. After a few years in the […]

The Other Budapest Experience

The Other Budapest Experience

The Danube is rising fast as we walk along the gangplank on to the A38, a former Ukrainian coal barge moored in Budapest. “I’ve never seen it like this!” said Lauren Groves, a Brit who has lived in Budapest for four years: “Usually the gangplank slopes steeply downwards from the bank to the boat, meaning […]

Politics at Budapest museum

Ruling party Fidesz favourite Julia Fabény was appointed director of the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, fueling criticism that Viktor Orbàn’s conservative government is biased against opponents of the country’s increasingly patriotic cultural policy. Unlike former director Barnabás Bencsik, the 59-year old Fabény has stated that it is not the task of a museum director to […]

IMF wants stimulus for CEE

Prompted by Poland’s listless growth and recessions in Hungary and the Czech Republic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommended short-term stimulus policies for much of Central Europe in May, according to The Wall Street Journal Europe. After vigorous growth in the 2000s, Poland has stagnated in 2013 and had only 0.1% growth in the first […]

Hungary: Still Struggling Over Values

Hungary: Still Struggling Over Values

All is not well in the state of Hungary: Anti-Semitism, paramilitary actions against Roma and Sinti, censorship of inconvenient artists and writers, a heavily disputed media law – Austria’s neighbour and important trading partner is facing heavy criticism under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz). At their embassy in Vienna, Peter Györkos, Hungary’s ambassador to the […]

Book Review: Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire

Book Review: Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire

The complexity and details of history, no matter what our interest in the subject, can often be hard work to sift through. Thus Maureen Healy’s Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire, first published in 2004, stands out, and remains a brilliant exception. Compellingly written and chock full of revealing anecdotes, Healy reveals a […]

Book Review: When Even The Poets Were Silent

Book Review: When Even The Poets Were Silent

When you pick up When Even the Poets were Silent, the weight of this elegant memoir might slide right past. George Pogany has a light touch for his story of hardship, a Jewish Hungarian’s journey from rural Orosháza to war-ridden Vienna and back, as Communism engulfs the country and flight becomes the only option. It […]

Central Europe’s Nationalist Paradox

Central Europe’s Nationalist Paradox

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, a nationalist? On the contrary. Would he then sign partnership agreements with large foreign investors? And Slovakia’s Robert Fico picking up right-wing voters and thus shifting toward nationalism? Hardly, or he wouldn’t be dedicating so much energy to saving the country’s largest private employer, the U.S. Steel ironworks in Kosice, which the […]

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