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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

Illiberalism in Central Europe: The view from the West

Europe (Central and Eastern)
National Identity
Eamonn Butler
University of Glasgow
Eamonn Butler
University of Glasgow

The paper will exam the western (West European, EU, US, and NATO) political and media discourses that focus on the revisionist ‘illiberal’ political philosophy that has emerged across the Central European region, from Hungary to Poland, in recent years. Key events in Europe, most significantly the migrant crisis, has focused attention on the region and there has been a marked shift in reporting of the political actions of governments, which some have argued are undemocratic and go against the liberal values and attitudes which these states aspired to represent as evidence of their post-socialist political and social transition. The paper asks whether these western discourses represent a fundamental shift in attitude towards the region as some commentators have suggested and it questions suggestions the apparent illiberalist agenda will promote new dividing lines or political cleavages damaging to the European integrationist structures and alliances that developed over the previous 25 years.
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