On 30 March, Hungary became the first democracy to fall victim to the coronavirus. With astonishing speed, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán passed through an emergency decree that gave him extraordinary powers for an indefinite period of time and put in place severe restrictions on political freedoms.
Even though the government intends to lift the state of emergency by the end of June, the damage has already been done. Already at this point it is clear that some of the controversial regulations will remain in place in critical areas, including media and academic freedoms, the independence of the judiciary, immigration policy, and counter-terrorism. Trying to find out more about what’s happening with Hungary’s pandemic power grab and what will be the long term consequences, we made The Call to Peter Krekó, director of the Political Capital Institute in Hungary and Europe’s Futures fellow.
This text and video is published under the Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. The name of the author/rights holder should be mentioned as followed. Author: Jovana Trifunović and Igor Bararon / tippingpoint.net. Cover picture: Film still from the Video “Hungary’s pandemic power grab: what happens now?” The Call with Peter Krekó, illustration: Norma Nardi
The COVID-19 pandemic shattered lives, put social contracts and international relations to test, disrupted economies. Governance systems, good and bad, are in distress. The better off are confined to home offices uncertain of their livelihoods. The less lucky face new heights of digital authoritarianism or sheer violence. The omnipresent media seem to be failing its watchdog function even in world’s oldest democracies. Already eroded, global democracy standards are yet to receive the full blow of pandemic’s political, social and economic consequences.
The video series The Call is an attempt to try to understand better the political, cultural and social implications of the pandemic by asking thinkers and doers from the ERSTE Foundation Community to weigh in with their thoughts and predictions.