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Budapest Forum 2023: From the War in Ukraine to Disinformation, Democratic Renewal and EU Funds

The Budapest Forum, a major international conference organized by the Political Capital, the CEU Democracy Institute, and the Municipality of Budapest, returned for a third consecutive year in October 2023. The two-day event featured contributions from leading politicians and foreign policy experts, and was formally opened by the internationally acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood, a dedicated advocate of democratic governance. 

Our partners were: Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Vienna, Green European Foundation, German Marshall Fund/German Marshall Fund of the United States, National Endowment for Democracy, Taipei Representative Office, Budapest, The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament.

The conference was opened by CEU’s President and Rector, Shalini Randeira; János Kendernay, Senior Adviser on City Diplomacy at the Budapest City Hall; Péter Krekó, Executive Director of the Political Capital Institute; and Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest.

“The Budapest Forum has served as one of the most important fora in this region to discuss all kinds of issues related to democracy, to democratic backsliding, to dismantling of democracy quite systematically by many governments in the region, but also worldwide,”

said Shalini Randeria during her opening remarks. “The forum centers necessarily on European questions, but with a worldwide significance. It also is a forum for all of us together to explore what kind of solutions we may come to.”  

Margaret Atwood, delivered the opening keynote address, with sharp words conjuring history and political confrontation. 

“It’s about controlling who can say what… Authoritarian regimes want to control who is saying what,” 

said Atwood. She added: “Once you start forbidding, it just becomes a question of who can forbid what? And then it becomes a question of how much state power is involved? Because once state power is involved there is a political agenda.” Atwood, known for her speculative fiction, highlighted decades of history and culture as a lens for considering the current moment. 

Our Co-Director Laszlo Bruszt, Senior Research Fellow Balazs Vedres, re:constitution Fellow Edit Zgut-Przybylska, Research Affiliate Matthijs Bogaards, Senior Research Fellow Zsolt Enyedi and Program Director Zsuzsanna Szelenyi represented the DI as panelists.

Click here to reach the website of the conference.

Click the links below to read the main takeaways of each panel:

Watch the recap of the conference:

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