June 3, 2019  |  Updated June 4, 2019

GLOBSEC Trends 2019: Central & Eastern Europe 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain

By Daniel Milo, Katarína Klingová and Dominika Hajdu

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. While there is no better opportunity to celebrate freedom, peace and democracy, the widespread fatigue with the political “establishment”, endemic corruption, and a desire for change did not avoid the region. The rise of nationalism and populism, which question some fundamental democratic values, is now on the everyday agenda. Harsh political rhetoric targeting the EU, attacks on journalists, attempts to rein in independent media and NGOs, the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of few, all these are important warning signs of the democratic order under attack. Such trends do not go unnoticed by external forces such as Russia or China. On the contrary, taking advantage of polarised societies to weaken the EU and NATO from within is one of the most powerful techniques to destabilise their adversaries. But is it really so effective? Are the CEE democracies on the decline?