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International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations
Volume 39, Issue 1 (2023) pp. 49 – 70


Populism is gaining ground in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and Hungary and Poland are the best examples of this trend. The Hungarian Orbán government and conservative Polish coalition led by Kaczyński (PiS), widely considered in the literature as populist, have been in power for some time now, which allows us not only to evaluate their labour law policies, but also the results. Though there are evident similarities between these two countries, such as political motivated layoffs in public employment or significant wage increases, the discrepancies are far more numerous. These differences result from each country’s specific socio-economic conditions and (almost) diametrically opposed political strategies with respect to employment matters. While Viktor Orbán believes in a workfare society, without social allowances and with flexibilized employment protection, in Poland PiS is pushing through a belated welfare revolution with expanded social benefits and employment rights.

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.