Conference Report: Constitutional Imaginaries in Europe, University of Copenhagen

October 6-7, 2022

Michal Kopeček and Matěj Slavík of the Prague team attended a conference held at the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law between 6th and 7th of October. Titled Constitutional Imaginaries in Europe, the conference gathered a group of European scholars mostly composed of constitutional lawyers who tried to explore how Europe is being imagined in national constitutions and how Europe affects the shape of constitutional law and theory in the EU member states.

In his presentation, Michal Kopeček introduced a paper in which he offered a complex picture of the post-1989 legal developments in Central East Europe which are currently culminating with the so-called illiberal backlash or democratic backsliding, most famously in cases of Poland and Hungary. Using the example of three prominent figures of Hungarian constitutionalism, Kopeček conducted an analysis of Hungarian liberal constitutionalism after 1989. By doing so, he attempted to show that the often repeated story of populist backlash of nationalist conservatives against liberal consensus held among cosmopolitan elites fails to encapsulate the complexity of post-1989 constitutional developments and that more historical-oriented research offers useful perspectives in this field.