Dreams of Power

The Politics of History and Hungary's Return to Horthy

7 April 2020

Orbán uses historical policy and the Trianon syndrome, which is painful for Hungarians, for his own purposes. He skilfully plays with symbols, traumas and injuries.

The European Union (EU) boasts of the “Copenhagen Criteria”, a set of requirements that guarantee the functioning of liberal democracy, the rule of law, the guarantee of human rights and a working market economy.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Hungary introduced a state of emergency, with a restricted parliament, silent opposition, limitations to independent media and rule by decree.

Earlier already, its own historical policy has been incorporated into the political game, changing the monuments, symbols and interpretations of events. Does it mean that the “Budapest Criteria” will replace those of Copenhagen? And, what is more, is Warsaw to follow the footsteps of Budapest?

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Bogdan Góralczyk

Bogdan J. Góralczyk is Professor and Director of the Centre for Europe, University of Warsaw, a political scientist and sinologist and an expert on Hungary, where he served as a senior diplomat in the years 1991–98 (afterwards a book was published both in Poland and Hungary). His recent book "Hungarian Syndrome: Trianon" has been published on round anniversary of the treaty

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