Orban’s lesson: does Brussels need to guard the democracy in the EU states?

Shall criticized of its democratic deficit Brussels guard the democracy in the EU states? Would that mean the threat of paneuropean paternalism? What kind of sanctions and instruments of pressure it could use?


Jan-Werner Müller, professor of Princeton University, author of, i.a., „Contesting Democracy. Political Ideas in Twentieth-Centrury Europe“ (2011), ”Wo endet Europa. Ungarn, Brüssel und das Schicksal der liberalen Demokratie“ (2013)

Heather Grabbe, Head of the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels; 2004-2009 the advisor of Olli Rehn, former Commissioner for Enlargement

Marek A. Cichocki , Head of Natolin European Centre, historian of idea, political scientist, author of, i.a.,  „Problem politycznej jedności w Europie” (Eng. “Problem of political unity in Europe”)(2012)

Kai-Olaf Lang, Head of EU division in Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin, expert on Central and Eastern Europe

Chaired by

Piotr Buras, Head of ECFR Warsaw

Can we imagine dictatorship rules in any of the European Union’s countries? The EU tends to assess the condition of democracy and  the level of the rule of law respectation within the candidate countries, but at the same time it doesn’t have sufficient instruments .  The argument about Hungary under the rules of Victor Orban has also been a dispute on how deeply Brussels should interfere in the internal politics of its member states. Both last summer’s constitutional crisis in Romania, as well as the rise of populism  and the crisis of democracy in the EU show that this question may come back in the future. On March this year German, Finnish, Dutch and Swedish Ministers of Foreign Affairs took the initiative to the President of the European Council to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU in terms of providing consistency of actions of the member states with the basic principles of the rule of law and democracy.

ECFR Warsaw Office and European Solidarity Centre kindly invite you to the debate “Orban’s lesson: does Brussels need to guard the democracy in the EU states?” which will take place on May 27 between 15:30 – 17:30 at the premises of Stefan Batory Foundation (Sapieżyńska 10a, Warsaw).


15.00 – Coffee and registration

15.30-15.40 Welcome remarks

Piotr Buras, head of ECFR Warsaw Office

Basil Kerski, director of European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk

15.40-16.00  „Orban’s lesson: where does the Europe end?” Jan-Werner Müller, Princeton University

16.00–16.30 Commentaries

Heather Grabbe, director of Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels

Marek A. Cichocki, head of Natolin European Centre

Kai-Olaf Lang, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin

16.30-17.30 Discussion (moderation: Piotr Buras)