Our researchers' participation at In Service of the Nation Conference

Our researchers have participated at conference titled “In Service of the Nation” organised on the 8th of January, 2021 by the Doctorates’ Council of University of Public Service. Among the 80 presenters three researchers of our Institute delivered their presentations in English and in Hungarian about EU affairs during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the title: Election in the time of the coronavirus in EU member states – Does the pandemic change democracy? Vivien Kalas presented her research in Hungarian.

The coronavirus pandemic had a negative effect on the essential element of democracies, namely elections. In the initial period, due to health reasons, in many countries  governments decided to postpone  elections, hence, fewer citizens took part in the elections than usual. People had to choose between exercising their right to vote and their right to security/health resulting in  low turnout which overall, weakens the democratic legitimacy of governments. Internet voting could be a solution to these problems but its use is not widespread in the European Union yet and besides its benefits, it has several weaknesses.

Aron James Miszlivetz presentation entitled: Enlargement during a pandemic: Diminishing or dynamic? was delivered in English.

The EU’s enlargement policy involving the Western Balkans has undergone fundamental changes in the past year. North Macedonia became a new name to remember, the French veto was successfully avoided and the EU developed a new, more dynamic enlargement methodology. While the EU opened the financial taps for the region, the realpolitik and heated debates regarding history and culture, as well as countering the coronavirus is currently ongoing. It can be difficult to grasp what is going on in the Western Balkans due to the multiple actors and interests involved, however the EU has access to new opportunities to take enlargement seriously in a post-Brexit era.

Viktória Lilla Pató presented about “Digitopia: the impact of a pandemic on the development of digital policies in the EU” in Hungarian.

The year 2020 has posed several challenges, but it has also created opportunities for all of us. Employment, education, social and scientific life have undergone major changes, however, especially in the field of digitalization, the COVID-19 virus has accelerated the progress.. At the end of 2019, the Von der Leyen Commission took on the task of creating the opportunity for the European Union to enter into the digital decade. In the presentation, the author presents the development of digital policy in the European Union in 2020. The paper concludes that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of Europe, that will enable the continent to be a real competitor in the digital era.

Further information about the Conference is available at the University’s website in Hungarian as well as at the Doctorates’ Council’s page.

Photo: Szilágyi Dénes