Thursday 17 September 2020 15:30 until 17:30

Online panel discussion with experts and Dutch ambassadors to the Visegrád countries about the rule of law and democracy in the heart of Europe

The Visegrád-4: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Countries in the heart of Europe, who, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, gathered in the small Hungarian town of Visegrád to set up a partnership. The target? Join the European Union. Europe’s call was strong, and the EU welcomed the foursome with open arms. Only in recent years there has been more pressure on the once-good relationship: the Visegrád countries, and especially Hungary and Poland, are often labeled as troublemakers by the rest of Europe.

The culmination of these disagreements will take place in September 2018, when the European Parliament starts the Article 7 procedure of the EU Treaty against Hungary. At that point, the European Parliament believes that democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the country are under threat.

What is the situation like in Hungary and the other Visegrád countries two years after the start of this historic procedure? How has the relationship between the countries themselves and their relationship with the EU evolved since 1991, and not more specifically in the last decade? Is there a historical shift in European relations, or can the history of recent years be placed well within the often turbulent Visegrád countries?

To discuss these and other questions around the theme of the Visegrád-4 and their role within the European Union, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee is organizing an online panel discussion on September 17 at 3.30 pm.

The introduction, “History politics – The past as a political weapon and how to deal with it”, will be given by Ivo van de Wijdeven, historian, political analyst and author of the book ‘De ghosts van Visegrád’.

Panel Conversation:
Henk Cor van der Kwast, Dutch ambassador in Slovakia
Kees Klompenhouwer, Dutch ambassador to the Czech Republic
Daphne Bergsma, Dutch ambassador to Poland
Michiel Luining, Hungary expert, historian and PhD candidate in EU constitutionalism & Central Europe
Moderator: Pepijn Gerrits, Director NHC

Registration for this event is possible via the link below. All registered participants will receive a Zoom registration link for the event; registration is free of charge.

Late on! There is a place for a maximum of 100 participants. Be quick with the registration.