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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Czech Legal Revolution

A Czech Legal Revolution

Artur Ostrý orders pizzas every Friday for an in-house lunch with his colleagues in his small law office in Prague’s posh Anděl business district. Here they sit around the table in a meeting room and prepare for the revolution. No other word could better characterise the coming change to the Czech legal system from January […]

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 […]

Hungarian prize revoked

Hungarian prize revoked

On 15 March, Ferenc Szaniszló won the Tancsics prize, Hungary’s most prestigious award for journalism, causing a national and international outcry. The journalist and television presenter Szaniszló has fallen into disrepute for spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and anti-Roma comments on the broadcasting station Echo-TV, which is closely affiliated with the Orbán admistration. In 2011, the […]

Revolution (Again) in Hungary

Revolution (Again) in Hungary

From revolution to revolution, I have watched Hungary evolve over the past half-century. The more dramatic of the two revolutions took place in the autumn of 1956 when a beaten, starved and humiliated subject people of fewer than 10 million souls managed to stare down the brutal might of the Soviet Union. The more triumphant […]

Wiesel returns 2004 medal

Wiesel returns 2004 medal

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel returned the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary he received in 2004 in protest of the government “encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian government’s involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its […]

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