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Photo: “Budapest: Hungarian Parliament“, by Jorge Franganillo licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Holesch, Adam, and Anna Kyriazi. “Democratic backsliding in the European Union: the role of the Hungarian-Polish coalition.” East European Politics (2020): 1-20.


Combining the insights of EU-specific research on backsliding and coalitions with the literature on the international collaboration of autocrats, we argue that right-wing political leadership in Hungary and Poland have coalesced to advance their respective projects of democratic backsliding. We identify three distinct but intertwined uses of the coalition: (1) mutual protection afforded within the supranational arena aimed at limiting the EU’s sanctioning capacities; (2) learning in the form of transfer of democratic backsliding policies; and (3) domestic legitimation. Three factors have driven coalescence patterns: intersecting interests, ideological proximity, and the EU’s decision rules regarding sanctions.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.