Out of Orbit

What We Read in 2019

31 December 2019

Quincy Cloet

Managing Editor

Visegrad Insight publishes regular news and reports on the future of the Visegrad Group countries and the wider region but also keeps tabs on what other magazines and news outlets are writing. That is why we share noteworthy stories and analyses we have read and appreciated elsewhere this year. Here are some of our favourite 2019 reads.

Liberalism and its challengers have seen a regular mention on our website, as we discussed illiberal governments, attacks on independent media and pressure from civil society. Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes’ essay in the Guardian caught the many attention of many readers, for its analysis linking populism with emigration, population loss and the refugee crisis.

“This was the moment when central Europe’s populists issued their declaration of independence not only from Brussels but also, more dramatically, from western liberalism and its ethos of openness to the world. Central Europe’s fearmongering populists interpreted the refugee crisis as conclusive evidence that liberalism weakened the capacity of nations to defend themselves in a hostile world.”

Although not wholly uncontested in the ensuing debate, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argued to what extent the post-1989 emigration from eastern and central Europe had awakened fears of national disappearance and hostile reactions to the refugee crisis in 2015. Would populism have taken hold without populists’ anti-immigration politics? While there are underlying causes that explain the populist turn across the V4, the refugee crisis was turned into a “branding opportunity” for Central Europe.

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Quincy Cloet

Managing Editor

Dr Quincy R. Cloet is Managing Editor of Visegrad Insight

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