A Nationalist Agenda in an EU Context: Implications for Contemporary Culture in Central Europe
The rise of nationalism and populism in European politics presents a grave challenge to the liberal democratic values upon which the EU is founded. In Central Europe, the nationalist governments of Hungary and Poland stoke anti-Brussels sentiment and fear of the ‘Other’, their cultural policies task institutions with building an idealised national narrative and identity, and independent (potentially opposing) voices are marginalised. Hungary’s cultural policies since 2010 provide a case study of a nationalist agenda for culture and highlight the challenge for the independent culture sector. Practitioners may look to the EU, NGOs and creative networks as sources of support, advocacy and resilience, but despite advocating for artistic freedom in external relations, the EU has limited practical scope to ensure artistic freedom within its member states. Further, studies show significant barriers for independent organisations seeking to access EU cultural programmes. Revisiting these programmes and priorities is required to ensure critical freedoms and values are not further eroded.
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