In Between Europe

In Between Europe

By Zselyke Csaky & Gergely Romsics

The In Between Europe podcast discusses politics and current events in Central Europe, bringing you experts and a history minute for each episode. Hosted by Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics.


#24 Judicial Independence in Hungary

  In the last episode of 2019, we look at the state of play in the judiciary in Hungary and what the most recent amendments mean for rule of law and the independence of the court system. To make sense of it all, we are joined by Dávid Vig, the director of Amnesty International Hungary and Ágnes Kovács, a lecturer at ELTE’s Department of Human Rights and Politics. History minute: The history of courts in Hungary  Resources: A Constitutional Crisis in the Hungarian Judiciary, Joint report by Amnesty International Hungary & Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 10 July 2019 Nothing ever disappears, it only changes: The Hungarian Government switches to higher gear to curb judicial independence, Amnesty International Hungary, 19 November 2019 Orban’s New Judicial Overhaul Prompts Rule-of-Law Concerns Again, Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg, 16 November 2019 The fragility of an independent judiciary: Lessons from Hungary and Poland — And the European Union, Kriszta Kovács & Kim Lane Scheppele, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 51, Issue 3, September 2018   Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
17/12/19·47m 22s

#23 Visegrad and Growth in Europe

  This episode is a forward-looking one, which builds on our previous discussion about the economic legacy of the transition. We discuss a new report from Visegrad Insight titled “European Futures,” the current state of EU budget negotiations when it comes to Central Europe, and the impact of regional politics on the economy. Guests: Daniel Gros, director of CEPS; Wojciech Przybylski, editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight; and Tomasz Kaszprowicz, economic editor of Res Publica Resources: #European Futures: Scenarios for cohesive growth, CEPS and Visegrad Insight, October 2019 EU Expenditure and Revenue 2014–2020, European Union Money Talks: EU Budget Negotiations Widen East and West Divide, Balkan Insight, 13 November 2019 The EU’s budget tribes explained, Politico Europe, 4 November 2019   Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.  
19/11/19·53m 53s

#22 Transition@30: The Economic Legacy

  In this episode we talk to Dóra Győrffy, a professor at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary, about the economic legacy of the transition. We take stock of the frontrunners and those who did things by the book implementing neoliberal reforms, but we also touch on the failures, and the apparent decoupling of political and economic success.  Resources: Trust and Crisis Management in the European Union, Dóra Győrffy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 From Democratic Dissatisfaction to Financial Crisis, Dóra Győrffy, In: Jensen, J; Miszlivetz, F (eds.) Reframing Europe’s future : challenges and failures of the European construction, Routledge, 2015, pp. 93–114 Huge wage rises signal new phase in Central Europe’s economic transformation, Ben Hall, The Financial Times, 16 October 2019     Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
17/10/19·54m 56s

#21 EP Elections in the Visegrad Four

  This episode is the first segment of a two-part series with Talk Eastern Europe (TEE) on the results of the European Parliament elections in Central Europe. We talk to Edit Zgut, a visiting lecturer at the Center for Europe in the University of Warsaw and discuss the V4 and what is next for the opposition in Hungary and Poland. Stay tuned for part two on Bulgaria, Romania, and more Poland with TEE!  History minute: The Left That’s Not There — Social Democratic Parties in Central Europe Resources: 2019 Election Results, European Parliament Why Brussels Overlooks Central Europeans for Top EU Jobs, Edit Zgut, Politico Europe, 21 May 2019 End of the Third Way, Marcin Zaborowski & Wojciech Przybylski, Visegrad Insight, 27 May 2019 Talk Eastern Europe, New Eastern Europe, 2019   Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
28/05/19·36m 59s

#20 Presidential Elections in Slovakia

  Progressive newcomer Zuzana Caputova secured a surprise victory in Slovakia’s presidential elections this past weekend. We talk about what led to her success and what it means for the future of the country with Oľga Gyárfášova, the director of the Institute of European Studies and International Relations at Comenius University in Bratislava. History minute: Presidents and their Powers Resources: The Winter of Our Discontent, Olga Gyarfasova, Visegrad Insight, 27 April 2018 Can Zuzana Caputova Save Slovakia, Dariusz Kalan, Foreign Policy, 28 March 2019 Hailed by Liberals, Slovakia’s First Female President is Under a Lot of Pressure to Turn the of Populism, Emily Tamkin, Washington Post, 1 April 2019 The Fourth Generation: From Anti-Establishment to Anti-System Parties in Slovakia, Olga Gyarfasova, New Perspectives, Volume 26, Nr. 1/2018   Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
03/04/19·32m 49s

#19 What Future for the Media in Central Europe?

  We’re back! Here with us today is Marius Dragomir, the director of the Center for Media, Data, and Society at Central European University (CEU) and we discuss the crisis-ridden media environment in the region. Despite the doom and gloom around the failure of the old business model and increasing political control, there are some good examples emerging that provide reason for optimism.  History minute: Media Pluralism in an Authoritarian Regime  Resources: Media Influence Matrix, Center for Media, Data, and Society, CEU, 2019 Control the money, control the media: How the government uses funding to keep media in line, Marius Dragomir, Journalism, Vol. 19, Issue 8, 2018 The Free Press Under Threat in Central Europe, Lenka Kabrhelova, Nieman Lab for Journalism, 27 February 2019 Media in Central Europe: From independent observer to political tool and the new enemy, Zselyke Csaky, Visegrad Insight, December 2017   Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
03/03/19·41m 52s

#18 Energy and Energy Security in Central Europe

  In a long-awaited episode we tackle the important question of energy security in the Central European region. For this, we talk to András György Deák, senior fellow at the Institute of World Economy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a former consultant to several large energy companies in the region.  History minute: The Function of the Economic Clout Resources: Energy, Russian Influence, and Democratic Backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe, Expert Forum / NED, May 2017 Eastern Europe is trying to break its dependence on Russian gas. Western Europe is doing the opposite, Rick Noack, The Washington Post, October 2018 The Trojan Horse of Russian Gas, David Koranyi, Foreign Policy, February 2018 The Failure of Economic Nationalism. Central and Eastern Europe before World War II, Ivan T. Berendt, Révue Économique, Année 2000, 51–2, pp. 315–322 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
18/12/18·58m 11s

#17 Central European Futures

  In this episode we discuss a new report titled Central European Futures — Five Scenarios for 2025 that maps five possible futures for the region and offers insight as well as recommendations. A true discussion starter! The guests on the show are Joerg Forbrig, a director and senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund and Wojciech Przybylski, the editor in chief of Visegrad Insight.  History Minute: The Strange Case of Hybrid Alignments Resources: Central European Futures — Five Scenarios for 2025, Visegrad Insight, 2018 Recommended podcast: Talk Eastern Europe, New Eastern Europe, 2018 Subscribe via RSS feed.
20/11/18·48m 33s

#16 Slovenia's Politics = Normal?

  We talk to Aljaž Pengov Bitenc, a Slovenian journalist and fellow podcast host in this episode and navigate the not-so-choppy waters of Slovenian politics together. We talk about the outcome of the recent elections, the failure of Orbanization, the lack of illusions but also extremes, and many more.  History minute: The Ambiguity of National History Resources: Sleeping with Pengovsky: A blog on Slovenian politics To Understand What Just Happened in Slovenia, You Have to Go Back to Donald Trump and Roseanne Barr, Slavoj Žižek, The Independent, 4 June 2018 Slovenia Lawmakers Buck the Trend in Central Europe, Endorsing a Centre-Left Government, Associated Press, 13 September 2018 Slovenia, Nations in Transit, 2018 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
16/09/18·48m 19s

#15 Slovakia and the Coming post-Fico Era

  We’re back! In this episode we are talking to Milan Nič, a senior fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. We discuss what has happened in Slovakia since the horrific murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancé this spring, how much influence does Russia have in the country, and where Slovak politics is going once former prime minister Robert Fico decides to fully retire. History Minute: Traditions of Russophobia and Russophilia in the Region Resources: Select publications, Milan Nič, German Council on Foreign Relations Slovakia Tries to Mask its Oligarchic Democracy with Strong EU Ties, Dariusz Kalan, World Politics Review, 6 November 2017 Six Months after the Murder of Jan Kuciak his Killers Still Enjoy Impunity, Ifex, 21 August 2018 Slovakia, Nations in Transit 2018, Freedom House Testing Democratic Resolve in Slovakia in: Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence, Chapter 5, National Endowment for Democracy, 2017 Euro-Orientalism: Liberal Ideology and the Image of Russia in France (c. 1740−1880), Ezequiel Adamovsky, Oxford: Peter Lang, 2006 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
22/08/18·44m 28s

#14 Elections in Hungary: What Next?

  We talk to Zsuzsanna Szelényi, an independent MP in the outgoing Hungarian parliament to make sense of Fidesz’s third supermajority and explore the future trajectory of Hungary’s politics.  History Minute: Gramsci and the Rural Vote in Hungarian History Resources: Can Viktor Orban be Defeated on April 8?, Zsuzsanna Szelényi, Visegrad Insight, 2 April 2018 Viktor Orban is Just Getting Started, Zselyke Csaky, Foreign Policy, 12 April 2018 Orban Reloaded, Milan Nic & Peter Krekó, DGAP, 11 April 2018 Some Aspects of the Southern Question, Antonio Gramsci, 1926 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
14/04/18·35m 46s

#13 Special Episode: Memory Politics

  In this special episode we bring you an extended history minute. Gábor Egry, a historian at the Institute for Political History in Budapest is our guide as we try to construct a more nuanced interpretation of the current Polish memory row and touch on nation building and history building in Romania and Hungary.  Resources: Seven Circles of European Memory, Claus Leggewie, 20 December 2010, Eurozine Holocaust Memory and the Logic of Comparison, Heidemarie Uhl, 20 April 2017, European Network of Remembrance and Solidarity Gábor Egry, Institute of Political History  Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
15/03/18·39m 55s

#12 What Will 2018 Bring for Central Europe?

  Welcome to 2018! In this episode we look back at the tumultuous events of last year and discuss what 2018 has in store for the region. Our guest is Tsveta Petrova, faculty at the European Institute at Columbia University, where she teaches and advises the MA students in European History, Politics, and Society.  History minute: The EU — an organization for democracies, not for democracy promotion Resources: Freedom in the World 2018: Democracy in Crisis, Freedom House, 2018 How Democracy Dies (in Poland): A Case Study of Anticonstitutional Populist Backsliding, Wojciech Sadurski, Sydney Law School Research Paper №18/1 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
24/01/18·45m 33s

#11 Hungary — Illiberal or non-liberal?

  This is a special episode that features a discussion and review of two books about contemporary Hungarian politics. In the first half, we tackle veteran journalist Paul Lendvai’s new book about Viktor Orbán, while in the second half, we discuss the system that Orbán has built up since 2010 with András Lászlo Pap, a constitutional scholar and research chair at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. History minute: The agent-structure problem in democratic backsliding Resources: Orbán: Europe’s New Strongman, Paul Lendvai, Hurst Publishers, 2017 Democratic Decline in Hungary: Law and Society in an Illiberal Democracy, András L. Pap, Routledge, 2017 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
11/12/17·47m 20s

#10 When EU Funds Go Awry

  In this episode, we talk with Balázs Váradi, an economist and cofounder at the Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis and we discuss the (obscure) funding mechanisms of the European Union and their use and abuse. While corruption has always been an issue with cohesion funds, Brexit and the looming reform of the union could fundamentally change these mechanisms in the long term. History minute: Backwardness and its historical context Resources: The impact of cohesion policy on corruption and political favoritism, Budapest Institute, Anita Győrfi, Tamás Molnár, Petra Reszkető, Balázs Váradi, 31 August, 2016 EU funds in Central and Eastern Europe: Progress Report 2007–2015, KPMG, 2016 Overview of funding programs, European Commission Tying EU funds to politics could be double-edged, Eszter Zalan, EUObserver, 24 October 2017 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
06/11/17·40m 19s

#9 Elections in Czechia — A Quick Take

  The Czech elections have brought a number of smaller and bigger surprises over the weekend, including the comfortable victory of a billionaire businessman and the rise of antiestablishment parties. In this episode, we talk to Michael Colborne, a journalist based in Prague, and Sean Hanley, a senior lecturer at University College London (UCL). We ask them about the mood in Prague and implications for the trajectory of Czech democracy. History minute: The East Central European Pendulum Resources: Final election results,, 22 October 2017 Czech election preview: Is Andrej Babis heading for a Pyrrhic Victory?, Sean Hanley, LSE EUROPP Blog, 16 October 2017 The expected surprise of Czech elections, Martin Ehl, Visegrad Insight, 22 October 2017 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
23/10/17·36m 58s

#8 What's Going on in Visegrad?

  We tackle the Visegrad Four cooperation in this episode, talking about its past, present, and future with Wojciech Przybylski, the editor in chief of Visegrad Insight and chairman of Res Publica Nowa. The V4 group made up of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia has received much attention since the European migration crisis broke out in 2015. This attention, however, might have overshadowed the fact that Visegrad has often found it hard to stake out common positions and that its role, in a coming potential multi-speed Europe, could be upended even more. History minute: Why Central Europe matters — at least for Central Europeans Resources: History of the Visegrad Group, Visegrad Group official website Vote Splitting in the V4, VoteWatch Europe, Visegrad Insight, 15 May 2017 Public Opinion Poll on Crucial V4 Issues, Nézőpont Intézet, 14 September 2017 Unity of Central Europe’s Visegrad Group under Strain, Lili Bayer, Politico Europe, 31 August 2017 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
28/09/17·40m 58s

#7 Corruption in Romania

  In this episode we talk about corruption trends and the trajectory of the anticorruption fight in Romania with Laura Stefan, an anticorruption expert with the Romanian think tank Expert Forum. Laura tells us about the incentives in Romania’s political system that sustain corruption and the potential problems stemming from the use of criminal law to tackle an ultimately political issue. History minute: Historical determinism meets norm entrepreneurship  Resources: Romania’s Protests: A Response to a Three-Pronged Assault on Anti-Corruption Measures, Daniel Brett, LSE EUROPP Blog, 2 February 2017 Populism 2.0 and the Rebirth of Alternatives to Liberal Democracy, annual report, Expert Forum, 2017 Questions and Answers on Romania’s Anticorruption Implosion, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, European Center for Anticorruption and State Building, 2017 Romania, Nations in Transit 2017 country report, Freedom House, 2017 Bacalaureat [Graduation], Cristian Mungiu, 2016 De Ce Eu [Why Me?], Tudor Giurgiu, 2015 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
01/09/17·39m 56s

#6 The Numbers Game in the Age of Information Warfare

  We tackle propaganda, fake news, and numbers in general in this episode. For this enormous task, we talk to freelance Canadian journalist Michael Colborne, who is currently based in Prague and has written for Coda Story, Al-Jazeera, CBC, and others. History minute: Traditions of mistrust and distrust in East Central Europe   Resources: Surveying Some Surveys: Czech & Refugees, Immigrants and Islam, Michael Colborne, 27 April 2017 A Lesson on How Not to Fight Disinformation, Michael Colborne, 11 June 2017 Globsec Trends 2017: Mixed Messages and Signs of Hope from Central and Eastern Europe, Globsec, May 2017 Document: Russia Uses Rigged Polls, Fake News to Sway Foreign Elections, Joe Parkinson & Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 23 March 2017 Standard Eurobarometer 87, May 2017 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
10/08/17·53m 18s

#5 Law and Justice in Poland (Part II)

  This is the second part of In Between Europe’s explainer on what is happening to the independent judiciary in Poland with Christian Davies of the Guardian. In part I, we looked at the big picture, while in this episode we go down the nitty-gritty of laws and the main ideas around democracy and separation of powers.  History minute: The Failure of Democratic Processes in Interwar Poland in PartI   Resources: The conspiracy theorists who have taken over Poland, Christian Davies, The Guardian, 16 February 2016 How to Demolish and Independent Judiciary with the Help of a Constitutional Court, Marcin Matczak, Verfassungsblog, 23 June 2017 Poland and the European Commission, Part III, Laurent Pech & Kim Lane Scheppele, Verfassungsblog, 3 March 2017 Winter in Warsaw, Annabelle Chapman, The Spectator, 21 July 2016 Poland: Some Hope in the Midst of Chaos, Zselyke Csaky, Freedom at Issue, 19 December 2016 God’s Playground: A History of Poland, Norman Davies, Oxford University Press, 1981 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
13/07/17·40m 56s

#4 Law and Justice in Poland (Part I)

  In this episode we address recent developments in Poland and the threat to judicial independence since Law and Justice came to power with Christian Davies of the Guardian. This is only part I of a mega Poland explainer — part II will go more into detail on what has happened to the Constitutional Tribunal and other judicial organs. History minute: The Failure of Democratic Processes in Interwar Poland  Resources: The conspiracy theorists who have taken over Poland, Christian Davies, The Guardian, 16 February 2016 How to Demolish and Independent Judiciary with the Help of a Constitutional Court, Marcin Matczak, Verfassungsblog, 23 June 2017 Poland and the European Commission, Part III, Laurent Pech & Kim Lane Scheppele, Verfassungsblog, 3 March 2017 Winter in Warsaw, Annabelle Chapman, The Spectator, 21 July 2016 Poland: Some Hope in the Midst of Chaos, Zselyke Csaky, Freedom at Issue, 19 December 2016 God’s Playground: A History of Poland, Norman Davies, Oxford University Press, 1981 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
09/07/17·40m 21s

#3 Austria — the Country that Gave Us Muddling Through as an Expression

We focus on Austrian politics in this third episode, talking to Anton Pelinka, a professor of political science at the Budapest-based Central European University. Austria has received much attention recently due to problematic presidential elections and a strong comeback by the far-rightist Freedom Party. We talk about how things got here and about potential changes to the Austrian political field ahead of parliamentary elections later this year. History minute: Conflicting Traditions of Austrian Democracy Resources: Sebastian Kurz Pulls Plug on Austrian Grand Coalition, Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico Europe, 12 May 2017 The Alternative in Austria, Benjamin Opratko, JacobinMag, 10 December 2016 The Haider Phenomenon: Explaining the FPO in European Context, Anton Pelinka, The Journal of the International Institute, University of Michigan, 2001 The Haider Phenomenon, Anton Pelinka, Routledge, 2002 Karl Lueger’s Rise to Mayor of Vienna, The World of the Habsburgs, Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
14/06/17·40m 15s

#2 Are the Czechs Having a Populist Moment?

In this episode we talked with Martin Ehl, the chief international editor of the economic daily Hospodarske noviny. We covered all things Czech Republic, including the ongoing government crisis, instability in Czech politics, and the chances of Orbanization in the near future. History minute: Švejk and anti-elitism Resources:  The Poisoned Quill, Martin Ehl, Visegrad Insight, 5 May 2017 The Czech Donald Trump, Benjamin Cunningham, Politico Europe, 29 October 2015 Czech Republic: From Post-Communist Idealism to Economic Populism, Ondrej Cisar, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, January 2017 Czechoslovakia After 25 Years: Democracy without Democrats, Jiří Pehe, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 2014 Subscribe via RSS feed. Subscribe via iTunes.
18/05/17·37m 26s

#1 Extremism in Hungary

In this first episode of the In Between Europe podcast, we discussed extremism and xenophobia in Hungary and the interesting trajectory of the infamous Jobbik party with Bulcsú Hunyadi, a senior analyst at Political Capital. History Minute: Resentment and exclusion in 20th century Hungary   Resources: DEREX Index, Political Capital The Secret of Jobbik. Reasons Behind the Rise of the Hungarian Radical Right, Dániel Róna and Gergely Karácsony, Journal of East European and Asian Studies, 2011 The activity of pro-Russian extremist groups in Central-Eastern Europe, Political Capital, April 28, 2017 Anti-Semite and a Jew, Anne Applebaum, The New Yorker, November 11, 2013 The Far-Right Hungarian Party Jobbik is Moderating. Is That a Good Thing?, Zselyke Csaky, Freedom at Issue, October 4, 2016 The Color of Smoke: An Epic Novel of the Roma, Menyhért Lakatos, 2015 Subscribe via RSS feed. Our iTunes listing is pending but should be live soon.
14/05/17·48m 21s
Heart UK