The Democracy and Law International Conference was held between the 10th and 11th of May with several presentations and discussions related to the past, present and future of democracy in Europe. The first day was organized at the József Attila Information Center in Szeged, and started with welcome speech of Minister of Justice of Hungary, Prof. László Trócsányi, who pointed out the importance of cooperation between the European Member States to reach better democracy at the Union level, and finalized his words by welcoming the new cooperation between the EPLO and the University of Szeged. As importance of democracy was highlighted once, EPLO Director, Prof. Spyridon Flogaitis, contributed in his keynote speech that democracy, as a value of Ancient Greece, has built today and going to shape future European way of democracy understanding and European identity. The event continued with Prof. Matheiu Bertrand, University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, keynote speech where he gave a comparative vision of risks and advantages of direct and indirect democracy in Europe.
After the coffee break, the section entitled “Democracy and Constitutionalism” chaired by dr. Zsuzsanna Fejes, University of Szeged, Faculty of Law, launched. President of Hungarian Constitutional Court, Tamás Sulyok’s presented an overview about human rights protection, more specifically, in the light of national constitutional identity. He also mentioned jurisprudence of Hungarian Constitutional Court within the European Constitutional dialogue. Following Mr.Sulyok’s approach, Tamás Korhecz, Judge at Constitutional Court of Serbia, gave an overview of typology of democracy, and then explained practice of direct democracy in Serbia based upon his experiences. Final presentation before lunch was given by Prof. Smith Eivind from University of Oslo, about relationship between democracy and constitutionalism.
After the lunch break, the second section entitled “Democracy and European integration”, chaired by dr.Anikó Szalai, University of Szeged, Faculty of Law, started with presentation of Prof. Emeritus Jaap De Zwaan, Erasmus University. Prof. De Zwaan drew the attention to the fact that the European Union Institutions could effort more to be transparent to its citizens in democracy related issues. Following presentation by Vice Dean Pál Sonnevend, Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law, pointed out the problem of democratic deficit in the European Union. The final presentation of the first day of the Conference was delivered by Vice President Veronika Bilkova from the Venice Commission, related to the current obstacles in democracy and human rights. Finally, Nóra Chronowski, Head of the Department of Constitutional Law, Eötvös Loránd University, came to the conclusion by summarizing the presentations and thank to the participants of the first day of the Conference.
On the second day of the Conference, which was held at the main building of the Faculty of Law, different aspects of democracy were discussed by young researchers and PhD students in four main thematic areas: “Democracy and human rights”, “Democratic principles in constitutional law and other fields of law”, “Democracy and International Law and Relations”, and “The culture of democracy”. All in all, this International Conference brought together several researchers and experts in this field and became an important meeting point of discussions about democracy and (rule of) law and its future.
We would like to thank all the participants, speakers, and organizers of this event. Special thanks should be mentioned to Anikó Szalai who coordinated and arranged the whole event.