Volume 56 (2019) / Issue 3
Democratic backsliding in the countries which joined the EU in this century poses questions as to how it may be understood and remedied. This article explains the phenomenon as a search for a specific social contract between the illiberal forces and the societies they seek to govern, setting the hypothesis against the experiences of three particularly problematic Member States: Hungary, Poland and Romania. Potential and actual responses by European institutions to this challenge, with particular emphasis on the ground-breaking potential of infringement proceedings to support the domestic division of powers, are discussed next. Finally, the paper analyses how seemingly unrelated broader EU policies have inadvertently contributed to the democratic backsliding.
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