Illiberal Democracy: Contradiction, Ideology or Characteristic of our Age?

Panels and Discussions

Since Viktor Orbán used the term in 2014 to propose a new model for Europe, debates have raged over whether ‘illiberal democracy’ is a coherent concept at all, what distinguishes it from liberal democracy, and what its relationships are with terms such as populism, authoritarianism, state capture, nationalism and majoritarianism. Whilst academic circles have been trying to make sense of the idea, the term itself has shown political effectiveness, and informal alliances of illiberal leaders have appeared at the European elections, in summits on family policy, in international decision-making bodies and elsewhere. This seminar looked at phenomena of illiberal democracy from Macedonia, Hungary, Italy, the UK, Slovakia, Poland and considered what should be done to counter this discourse, by political institutions, by academics and by other political actors and activists.


Katerina Kolozova (Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje),
Luke Cooper (London School of Economics, UK),
Niccolò Milanese (European Alternatives & Europe’s Futures fellow),
Peter Kreko (Political Capital, Budapest & Europe’s Futures fellow),
Leszek Jażdżewski (Liberté journal, Lodz & Europe’s Futures fellow),
Grigorij Mesežnikov (Institute of Public affairs, Bratislava & Europe’s Futures fellow)

Europe’s Futures – Ideas for Action
A strategic partnership initiative of IWM and ERSTE Foundation