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Photo: “Visegrad Group and Eastern Partnership meeting in Budapest 14“, by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Anders, Lisa H., and Astrid Lorenz. Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2020.


This open access book provides an in-depth look into the background of rule of law problems and the open defiance of EU law in East Central European countries. Current illiberal trends and anti-EU politics have the potential to undermine mutual trust between member states and fundamentally change the EU. It is therefore crucial to understand their domestic causes, context conditions, specific processes and consequences. This volume contributes to empirically informed theory-building and includes contributions from researchers from various disciplines and multiple perspectives on illiberal trends and anti-EU politics in the region. The qualitative case studies, comparative works and quantitative analyses provide a comprehensive picture of current societal, political and institutional developments in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Through studying similarities and differences between East Central European and other EU countries, the chapters also explore whether there are regional patterns of democracy- and EU-related problems.

Table of contents

  • Examining Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe from a Domestic Perspective: State of Research and Outline of the Book
    Lisa H. Anders, Astrid Lorenz
  • Societal Roots of the Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics
    • Illiberal and Anti-EU Politics in the Name of the People? Euroscepticism in East Central Europe 2004–2019 in Comparative Perspective
      Lars Vogel
    • The Varying Challenge of Islamophobia for the EU: On Anti-Muslim Resentments and Its Dividend for Right-Wing Populists and Eurosceptics—Central and Eastern Europe in a Comparative Perspective
      Gert Pickel, Cemal Öztürk
    • Is There an East–West Divide over European Solidarity? Comparing European Citizens’ Attitudes Towards Cross-Border Solidarity 2016
      Florian K. Kley, Holger Lengfeld
  • Rhetoric and Practice of Illiberal and Anti-EU Politics
    • Differential Illiberalism: Classifying Illiberal Trends in Central European Party Politics
      Vratislav Havlík, Vít Hloušek
    • Party Rhetoric and Action Compared: Examining Politicisation and Compliance in the Field of Asylum and Migration Policy in the Czech Republic and Hungary
      Paula Beger
    • Pro-Europeans and ‘Euro-Realists’: The Party-Voters Linkage and Parties’ Political Agendas in Poland, 2004–2019
      Michał Dulak
    • Same Same, but Different: Domestic Conditions of Illiberal Backlash Against Universal Rights in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
      Petra Guasti
  • EU Reactions to Illiberal and Anti-EU Politics
    • Talking Past Each Other: On Common Misperceptions in the Rule of Law Debate
      Attila Vincze
    • Does It Help to Call a Spade a Spade? Examining the Legal Bases and Effects of Rule of Law-Related Infringement Procedures Against Hungary
      Lisa H. Anders, Sonja Priebus
    • Safeguarding Democracy and the Rule of Law by Civil Society Actors? The Case of Poland
      Claudia-Y. Matthes
  • Theoretical Reflections and Conclusions
    • Contesting the EU, Contesting Democracy and Rule of Law in Europe. Conceptual Suggestions for Future Research
      Luca Tomini, Seda Gürkan
    • Towards a Political Theory of Democratic Backsliding? Generalising the East Central European Experience
      Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski
    • Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe: Major Findings and Avenues for Future Research
      Astrid Lorenz, Lisa H. Anders

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.