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The Rise and Fall of Authoritarianism in Today’s Europe: North Macedonia, the EU, and the Future of the Western Balkans
March 21, 2019 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
Roundtable with Martin Naunov, Milada Vachudova, Dimitar Bechev and Silviya Nitsova. A light lunch will be available.
Please join us for a roundtable that will explore how the Western Balkans and especially North Macedonia fit in with broader trends of political change in post-communist Europe. Recent political changes in Macedonia give hope: The highly corrupt, authoritarian regime of Nikola Gruevski was ousted, and the new pro-European, reform-minded government has negotiated an end to a twenty-year dispute, changing the country’s official name to North Macedonia to make peace with Greece. Recent political changes in other post-communist EU members and candidates, however, are in the opposite direction. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban styles himself as the leader of a new illiberal bloc, and would like to bring more populist strongman regimes into the EU. This may undermine the transformative power of the EU accession process as entrenched Balkan elites can look to Budapest for a model of how to combine authoritarianism with EU membership. Is political change in North Macedonia a harbinger of other countries moving back toward liberal democracy and support for European integration, or will Orban instead bring more and more countries into his illiberal bloc?