The Rule of Law: Can Law protect liberal democracy?

PANEL01 Jan 2019

Following the collapse of the communist regime, the successional states of Czechoslovakia, together with other countries of the CEE region managed a successful political reorientation with “a return to Europe.” Nowadays, the foundations of this return are at risk. The Polish Constitutional Court has been unprecedentedly limited to execute its powers by the leading political party. In October Hungary faced the triggering of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, the so-called EU rule of law procedure, for its government’s weakening of the freedom of the press, erosion of judicial independence and backsliding on democracy and fundamental rights. With the deteriorating situation in Hungary and Poland and increasing tendency to look for alternative leaders who traditionally have nationalistic and autocratic agendas we need to address this major challenge to liberal democracy within Czech and Slovak political context. The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic faces a major exchange of judges: will the courts be sufficiently independent and well-prepared to tackle these recent challenges? In Reporters Without Frontiers latest World Press Freedom Index the Czech Republic dropped 11 places, with Slovakia following suit: will the two countries’ institutional checks and balances prevent further erosion of liberal democracy?

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