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Over the last years, many societies witnessed a so-called illiberal backlash. Democratic achievements that had been considered secure and were almost taken for granted are more and more under attack. This process has taken different forms across Europe. While Germany is struggling with the first extreme right-wing party that managed to enter the Bundestag since 1945, in Poland and Hungary it is the right-wing national governing parties PiS and Fidesz that attack and damage democracy and the rule of law since their coming into power. These attacks on institutions and individuals lead to a situation in which democratic actors are no longer able to carry out their work unhindered. Media and their employees are massively harassed by government representatives (especially in Poland and Hungary), which equalizes an attack on freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. At the same time, a new divide between relevant political elites threatens to emerge, and it must be prevented from deepening.

Thus, we aim at establishing a new initiative of experts on rule of law and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. The goal of this initiative is to facilitate structural and long-term networking for experts, researchers and other professionals working on questions of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe from a political, social, cultural, historical and economic perspective.