On October 31, 2018, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) and the Rotary Club Dunajská Streda, with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), organized a public debate in Dunajská Streda Civic co-existence and democracy against extremism in Slovakia. The event took place in the framework of IVO project “Country at the crossroad“ consisting of series of discussions of experts with the public on topical issues of social development.
The event was attended by Grigorij Mesežnikov (political scientist), Radovan Bránik (security analyst and blogger) and Peter Hunčík (psychiatrist and civic activist). Discussion was moderated by Ladislav Nagy (Rotary Club DS).
In the discussion, the participants pointed out the fundamental importance of a well-functioning and stable democratic system for development of the country as well as the transparent governance and efficient operation of state institutions, including security forces. Only a democratic order can ensure the respect for and protection of human and minority rights, provide the application of the principle of equality of citizens and prevent discrimination that extremists would try to introduce against various groups of the population. High quality of democracy brings a higher quality of life, developed civil society creates a space for active citizens to make decisions on solution of society’s issues, to day-to-day participation in the management of public affairs. In this context, membership in the European Union, a community of democratic states based on the shared values, is of strategic importance for Slovakia.
Discussants debated various factors that contributed to the rise of radical and extremist, anti-systemic forces in Europe and in Slovakia over the past few years. It specifically touched upon the issue of foreign migration, in particular the refugee crisis of 2015-2016, which influenced the developments both in Western and Central Europe. They characterized the responses of Central European countries, including Slovakia and Hungary, the approach of their state bodies and the attitudes of individual political actors. Participants also dealt with the issues of interethnic relations, the mutual perception of different ethnic groups, the situation in solving the problems related to the status of the Roma population.