Political Capital has a special focus on civil society, its role and the challenges it has to face in Hungary in the context of the current, illiberal political environment.
In our experience, the operating environment for civil society has significantly worsened since 2010, with both the legal and financial frameworks deteriorating sharply. In this period, certain civil society organisations (CSOs) have had to face sustained and damaging political attacks.
As a result of this hostile environment, many CSOs have been classified as political organisations. One serious result of what is essentially a demonisation process is that these CSOs are no longer invited to take part in decision making. Under previous administrations, they were regularly consulted to provide independent expert opinions on their specialist areas.
Our research into Hungarian civil society primarily aims to analyse these new processes and map civil society’s answers.
In the former Communist countries the state previously took on numerous roles and duties that were otherwise the role of civil society in Western Europe. Hence, even a quarter of a century after the beginning of the transition to a democratic society, the role of CSOs needs special care and understanding for the common good.
So, in addition to our research, we also provide policy recommendations and organise workshops to help strengthen coordination and foster dialogue between CSOs, and demonstrate their relevance to the general public. We are also participating in the work of an international consortium on closing space for civil society (iCon), led by the Washington think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
For more information about our work on civil society, please contact our analyst, Veszna Wessenauer.