Europe’s Populists Are Paying a Price for Failed Pandemic Responses

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, is reflected in glass as he leaves at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 11, 2020 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, is reflected in glass as he leaves at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 11, 2020 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

As soon as the global magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic started to become evident in the early part of last year, the obvious corollary became inescapable: COVID-19 would have far-reaching political impact around the world. One of the places where the political ramifications of the crisis—or, more precisely, the consequences of its mismanagement by authorities—are becoming more pronounced is Central Europe, a region that in recent years has drifted steadily in an authoritarian, illiberal direction. While a steady erosion of democratic practices has been on display across much of the globe over the past 15 years, the pattern in Central […]

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