Political Capital in 2021


Last year, Political Capital continued to contribute to a better understanding of political issues through analyses, research and events. 2022 will be an election year, when political events and processes will be the center of attention. Thus, we will try to reveal the wider context of contemporary news in our analyses and events. But, first, let's take a look back at some of last year's highlights.

2021 was a special year for the institute: we turned 20 years old. Over the past two decades, our environment has changed a lot, but the values that guide us have not. Over the past year, our team, our national and international networks, our research efforts have grown.

Our 2021 in numbers:

  • 600 domestic media appearances
  • 380 international media appearances in 26 languages
  • 860 Facebook posts
  • 000 views on our Facebook videos
  • 28 events organised online
  • nearly 20 online & 4 in-person events
  • almost 15,000 followers on Facebook
  • 2600 followers on Twitter
  • 14 podcasts
  • the first Budapest Forum; co-organised by the Municipality of Budapest and the CEU Democracy Institute – with 400 guests and 49,000 online followers

Additionally, we’s published numerous studies, analyses, guest posts, interviews and statements.

The director of our institute, Péter Krekó and our analysts are regular commentators for leading foreign newspapers. Last year, we spoke to the New York Times about the mass vaccination campaign in Hungary, to the Financial Times about the dilemmas of the Hungarian opposition, among others, we analysed the background of the planned Fudan University project in Budapest in The Guradian and on CNN. The Hungarian opposition primaries were also an interesting topic worldwide: our institute's election expert, Robert László, was interviewed by Politico, the BBC and Reuters concerning this issue.

The first Budapest Forum – co-organized by the Municipality of Budapest, the CEU Democracy Institute and Political Capital – took place in September. Building sustainable democracies was the central topic of the two-day international conference, which brought together journalists, experts, policy-makers and activists to discuss relevant issues. We talked in detail about the challenges of social media platforms, the consequences of political polarisation, or even the traps of the Chinese Communist Party's sister city agreements. We are proud to have been able to welcome internationally renowned politicians among our speakers, such as Luxembourgish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn, the mayors of the V4’s capitals, and world-famous historians such as Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder and Timothy Garton Ash.

We also organised a five-part online conference series in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Jelen. Short studies related to the events are available on our website.

The coronavirus pandemic was also a major topic for us in 2021, which encouraged us to look at the impacts of the epidemic from a V4 perspective, and we also talked about the importance of strengthening economic resilience. In one of our online events, we highlighted the importance of a sustainable economic model, but we looked at the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in Hungary, too.

With the arrival of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, it was essential to investigate the population’s confidence in vaccines and understanding the pseudo-scientific opinions on the subject. In one of our analyses, we summarised our proposals in five points to strengthen confidence in vaccines. Later, based on a telephone survey, we made a comprehensive summary of vaccination attitudes and we analysed participants’ susceptibility to conspiracy theories in four countries. Furthermore, we wrote a study on the transformation of the Hungarian anti-vaccine movement.

Countering disinformation remains one of Political Capital's top priorities. We participated in the Disinformation Resilience Index 2021 project, in which we examined the resistance to disinformation in ten countries. In addition, we detailed in our articles the Russian disinformation campaigns and narratives targeting Ukraine. Alongside Russia, China is also devoting substantial efforts to disinformation attacks; so, at a joint event between our organisation and National Endowment for Democracy, we looked at the impact of both autocratic states’ influencing attempts aimed at the European Union. One of our guests was Reinhard Bütikofer, who is the first on China's list of banned EU nationals in connection with the Uyghur case. The event was based on our second analysis of the votes cast by Members of the European Parliament on foreign policy related issues, which focused on the different composition of groups representing the Kremlin’s and Beijing’s interests, respectively. Moreover, in our joint research with the Slovak Globsec institute, we examined how well Hungary could resist authoritarian influence.

In connection with the opposition primaries, we interviewed the candidates for prime minister about their foreign policy concepts, and we analysed the events of both rounds of the primaries in detail.

This year we will continue our professional work based on respect for values and facts. Thank you for your continued support and following us in 2022!