2021/ 2022

Beáta Bakó

Mobility Phase: Central European University, Europeum

The Dilemmas of a “New Transition” in Hungary

Photo: Joanna Scheffel

Beáta Bakó graduated from the Faculty of Law of Pázmány University Budapest in 2015. She completed an LL.M. in German Law at the University of Münster in 2017. She completed her PhD exam at the University of Münster in 2020 with magna cum laude. In her dissertation, Beáta examined the possible alternatives to the Article 7 TEU mechanism concerning the enforcement of the founding values of the European Union, focusing on the cases of Hungary and Poland as examples. During her postgraduate studies, Beáta was a visiting student at the EUI (2018), a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg (2017) and at the University of Warsaw (2018-2019). She has been a Max Weber Fellow at the EUI Florence in the cohort 2020-2021. Beáta also holds an M.A. degree in communication and media studies from the ELTE Budapest (2013). Since 2013, she has been working as a journalist for different Hungarian media outlets, currently she is co-author of the newsletter Gemišt. In 2022, Beáta joined Prof. Tomás Dumbrovsky’s team at the Law Faculty of Charles University in Prague, where she conducts research on constitutional identity in a comparative perspective. Beáta’ s first book entitled ‘Challenges to EU values in Hungary. How the European Union Misunderstood the Government of Viktor Orbán’ is forthcoming at Routledge in 2023.

The Dilemmas of a “New Transition” in Hungary

How should the EU enforce the rule of law in the member states? Can democratic backsliding be prevented on EU level? Such questions are asked regularly by scholars and politicians, especially since Article 7 TEU procedures have been launched against Poland and Hungary. But what happens afterwards? How can the rule of law and liberal democracy legally be restored? As the 2022 Hungarian parliamentary election is approaching and the opposition has better chance to win than any time in the last decade, it is time to examine these overlooked questions.

The current opposition has already made promises for the case if they win, like adopting a new constitution, setting up a new electoral system or “making the Constitutional Court great again”. How realistic are these promises without a constitutional two-thirds majority? Are there any alternatives for the restitution of the rule of law within the frames of the current Basic Law adopted by the Fidesz-majority in 2011? Could the social demand for independent institutions be strengthened if the Basic Law is (partly or entirely) set aside? What should be learnt from the experiences of the democratic transition of 89/90 in this regard?