European Union vs Hungary and Poland

Kursnummer: 117720on

European Contexts
European Union vs Hungary and Poland
To what Extent does the Rule of Law matter?

When: Thursday, 10 December 2020, 9:00-10:30 CET
Where: Concordia Cloud

Registration is mandatory. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link one day before the event. Registration deadline: 9 December 2020 (1pm).

Register now.



Zsuzsanna Szelényi is Richard von Weizsäcker fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy. She conducts research on the future of the European Union regarding the decline of democracy and rule of law. Former MP (2014-2018) covering foreign policy, migration, and constitutional affairs. Based in Budapest.

Jacek Kucharczyk is President of the Institute of Public Affairs, one of Poland’s leading think tanks. Expertise: European integration, democratic governance, democracy assistance, migrations, and populism. Based in Warsaw.

Heather Grabbe is Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels. Former Senior Advisor to then European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. Expertise: how climate and technology are affecting the quality of democracy, and economic and social justice. Politico ranked Grabbe among the “women who shape Brussels”. Based in Brussels.

Concept and Moderators

Ivan Vejvoda, Europe’s Futures; Mirjana Tomić, Presseclub Concordia, fjum.


On 26 November 2020 Prime Ministers of Poland and Hungary met and “doubled down on their threat to veto the EU’s € 1.8 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery package…, rejecting efforts to tie the spending to the rule of law,“ writes Politico.

Their joint statement states:

“We are seeking solutions which make the necessary financial resources available as soon as possible for all Member States.

The present situation that prevents the quick conclusion of the legislative process is created by those who established a link between the Rule of Law and the EU budget. Our position has been clear from the beginning of the negotiations starting with the proposal of the Commission in 2018. That linkage was known to carry risk of blocking the process of approval of the MFF/Next Generation EU financial package.”

While Brussels weighs its options, countries like Italy and Spain, severely affected by the economic consequences of the covid-19 crisis, count on the prompt disbursement of funds, and eagerly wait for the outcome of the coming European Council meetings, scheduled for 10 and 11 December.

How far is each side ready to go? Even if a compromise deal is reached, what would that mean on the ground: would Budapest and Warsaw withdraw their controversial policies and practices that violate the EU standards? Or, would the current situation remain and business would continue as usual?

Target Groups

Vienna-based journalists, as well as journalists from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. International journalists are welcome.

Number of participants: Maximum 50


Short presentations and interactive discussion.

Further Questions

For additional information about the session, contact Mirjana Tomic, seminar manager,, or call 0676 365 26 93.

European Contexts

Upon request of Austrian and Central European media representatives to create an informal regional platform/network of journalists who could cooperate on common projects or simply consult each other on the latest developments in their respective countries, four organisations decided to support this initiative, aimed at strengthening quality journalism and fostering professional networks. The initiative consists of seminars that address themes of common interest and enable journalists to meet and discuss.

10.12.202009:00 - 10:30
kostenlos. Anmeldung erforderlich!
Zsuzsanna Szelényi, Jacek Kucharczyk, Heather Grabbe
Online (Zoom)