Democracy

“No country for young wo/men?!”

The paraphrase above of the 2007 Coen Brothers’ movie title “No Country for Old Men” has recently become a catchy metaphor for the sentiment of many young people in Central and Eastern Europe. Its provocative “claim” is unfortunately substantiated and strong empirical evidence exists of a high proportion of young people ready to leave their country to study, work and live abroad. 

By Oľga Gyárfášová

Political developments

Political context of the murder of a journalist in Slovakia

Article

The news about the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová has shaken the entire country. They are not the only people who have been killed in Slovakia since 1989: “undesirable” people have already been physically eradicated in affairs that were linked, to a greater or lesser extent, to politics. 

By Grigorij Mesežnikov

By Electing Miloš Zeman, the Czech Republic Turns East

Analysis

The post of Czech President will now be held for the next five years by Miloš Zeman. The incumbent, who is famous for a political style that is so jovial as to be vulgar and for his pro-Russian, harshly anti-immigration position, defeated the moderate, unequivocally pro-Western academic Jiří Drahoš in the second round of voting by a relatively close margin (152 000 votes).

By Petr Honzejk

The Nightmare of the Czech Presidential Elections

Commentary

Thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, the atmosphere in Czech society is poisonous. Many who followed the course of the Czech presidential elections during the past few weeks in detail must feel they are trapped in a nightmare.

Political developments »

Europe

CALL FOR PAPERS - Current Populism in Europe: Culture, History, Identity.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is organizing the 4th International Populism Conference in Prague, in cooperation with the Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Science and the Goethe-Institut Prag. The conference will take place 21 - 22 May 2018 at Goethe-Insitut Prag. More information about the Call for Papers can be found here. You can apply until 31 January 2018. 

Europe »

Focus on Hungary

Focus on Hungary

The Heinrich Böll Foundation has been compiling a dossier containing articles on the situation in Hungary since the right-wing government came to power in April 2010. The dossier is understood as forum for critical voices from Hungary. Their contributions reflect the socio-political changes in Hungary referring to current trends as well as long-term developments. (Teaser-Foto: Gabriella Csoszo)

Zsófia Deák, Editor of the dossier (zsofia.deak@cz.boell.org)

Gender Democracy

Ticking off the Czech Republic’s UN Commitment as Completed: Reflecting on the First Czech National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

In January 2017, the Czech Republic introduced its first National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security (NAP 1325), adopting it as the 64th country in the world, as the 18th EU Member State and as the first country in Central Europe to do so. Notwithstanding its status as a country unaffected by direct conflict, the Czech Republic is obliged to pursue a gender, peace and security (GPS) agenda through its foreign policy, just as other EU member state signatories to UNSCR 1325 are expected to do so.

By Blanka Šimůnková, Míla O'Sullivan

Forced Sterilization: The Hidden Human Rights Abuse

As the second decade of this new millennium pushes toward its completion, it may come as a surprise to readers to learn that the sterilization of women without their consent remains a persistent problem for public health systems worldwide. Recent efforts in Europe to address these abuses have revealed how public health administrators and justice systems have yet to learn the lessons of these abuses.

By Gwendolyn Albert

Quotas matter for full equal political and economic participation

Equality for all human beings is a core principal and Leitmotif of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1949 and manifested in many national constitutions. Due to the lack of equal political participation of women quotas were implemented over the last years – by developed and developing countries in order to improve women’s political participation. Empirical evidence shows that it is a powerful and successful tool.

By Barbara Unmüßig
Gender Democracy »

Publications

Restless Cities: Lessons from Central Europe

pdf

Restless Cities: Lessons from Central Europe is a publication that reflects a year-long training programme of the Prague office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation focusing on understanding the political aspects of urban planning in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It consists of four thematic chapters that offer introductions into each topic, short texts by selected invited experts, participants’ views, and key learnings about sustainability and politics. The authors of the texts are not just the experts who contributed to the training programme, but also the participants themselves share their learnings and views herein. We hope this book will help readers to understand the often-invisible areas where urban planning moves from the realm of expertise-only into the realm of political action and that it will inspire readers to further political learning and engagement.

Civic Strategies Against Governmental Populism and Hate Campaigns

pdf

The interpretation of the Hungarian “illiberal state,” in terms of political philosophy and political science outlines a set-up in which even though the constitutional institutions typical of democracies still formally exist, they however no longer function—even while occasionally adopting decisions that comply with constitutionality—as intended at the system level: Instead of serving as true checks on how the government wields power, they function as institutions stabilising the autocratic workings of the state.

This paper aims to examine one of the crucial features of how “illiberal states” operate, namely populist and inflammatory government communication that seeks to make public debate hegemonistic and the closely related government actions intended to silence critical opinions, together with the legal instruments available to counter these things.

Gender and the Energy Sector

pdf

Romana Marková Volejníčková, Marie Pospíšilová and Alena Křížková from the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with the Prague office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, have collaborated on the preparation of the Czech-language publication Gender a energetika (“Gender and the Energy Sector”). The English translation which you are now reading is an excerpt from this publication and contains the most significant research findings and recommendations in the individual thematic areas.

Democracy

In many countries around the world people are protesting against injustice, abuse of power, dire living conditions, and they are campaigning for higher standards. In the process new forms of citizens’ participation in political and administrative processes are evolving. We support all attempts to achieve greater democratisation and participation.

The City is for All

Katalin Rodics

Attila Mong

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