Central Europe as a distinct historical region in Europe: a political and legal introduction

Central Europe as a distinct historical region in Europe: a political and legal introduction

When? 02 - 08. 08. 2021.

There has been a certain tension between Central European governments and the bodies of the European Union due to various controversial issues in the last ten years. And, the Western public opinion have been using such terms as democratic backlash or the erosion of rule of law when discussing new Central European legal or political developments, while some Central European governments have frequently been claiming about the application of double standards with regard to their countries. This apparent disagreement may be due to the fact that the European Union may look as a homogenous entity from an external point of view, but the existence of internal dividing lines is undeniable, too. A major internal dividing line is certainly the difference between the Western member states and the newly coming Central European ones. This summer university course is focused on studying certain important features of Central European legal and political cultures that back the division between the Western and the Central European parts of the European Union. Since one dimensional approaches can only have a little scholarly value with respect to such a complex issue, the course will integrate the discussion of historical, political and legal issues in order to provide the students with a complex and interdisciplinary approach. At the end of this course, students will certainly have a better understanding of those legal and political factors that make Central Europe a distinct legal and political entity as compared to other parts of the European Union.


Krisztina Arató is full professor and director at ELTE University, Faculty of Law, Institute of Political Science in Budapest. She studied history at ELTE University in Budapest and political science at the Victoria University of Manchester, England. She wrote her PhD dissertation on the social dialogue system of the EU at Corvinus University, Budapest. She is currently the president of the Hungarian Political Science Association. Her research interests are history and theory of European integration, and civil and social dialogue. She authored and edited textbooks about the European Union (The Voyage of Europe with Boglárka Koller, in Hungarian, the Political System of the European Union, co-edited with Boglárka Koller) and recently contributed to the volume The European Parliament Election of 2019 in East-Central Europe. Second-Order Euroscepticism, edited by Vit Hloušek, and Petr Kaniok (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) on the Hungarian case.

Éva Gellérné Lukács is an Associate Professor at the Department of International Private Law and European Economic Law at ELTE University, Faculty of Law. She is responsible for alltogether 8 courses at the Faculty in different legal subjects (in particular free movement of persons, health insurance law, institutions of the EU, international and european social law). She has been working for more than 15 years as a civil servant in the Ministry of Human Affairs of Hungary. In that capacity, between 2004-2017, she was the appointed member of the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems (AC) and the MISSOC, and participated in the work of the Social Protection Committee (SPC). At present she is the independent member of the Conciliation Board of the AC. Her main research field is free movement of persons and social rights of persons in the EU. She is the author of more than 100 articles, chapters in books (both Hungarian and English). She is the academic coordinator of the English-speaking LLM program of the Faculty of Law. She was granted the Knights Cross – Award for Merit of the Republic of Hungary by the President of State in 2004 for the Work performed for the Accession of Hungary to the European Union.

Sára Hungler is an assistant professor at the Social and Labour Law Department. She teaches Hungarian and European social and labour law, and equal treatment. She earned her PhD degree in 2015. Her research field covers gender equality and family policy with special regard to vulnerable groups, such as Roma or unemployed mothers. She is a researcher at the Institute of Legal Studies, where her research focuses on regulatory changes in social law. She is awarded with a post-doctoral scholarship by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, she is currently researching social integration in the Visegrad countries with emphasis on family policy and women’s rights. She is regularly publishing her results in Hungarian and international journals, she recently published her first book on human rights and workplace democracy.


Hungler, Sára. The Dual Nature of Employee Involvement. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2020.

Hungler, Sára. „Local Interests and Social Integration in Europe”. In Between Compliance and Particularism: Member State Interests and European Union Law, edited by Marton Varju, 255–81. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05782-4_12.

Boglárka Koller is a full professor, head of Department of European Studies at the University of Public Service, Ludovika, Faculty of Public Governance and International Studies. She graduated at the Corvinus University, Budapest as an economist in 1998; she also holds an MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University, Budapest and an MSc in European Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main research areas are history and theories of European integration, differentiated integration and multi-speed Europe, Europeanisation in Central and Eastern Europe. She has numerous publications on European integration among which there are three books (Nemzet, identitás és politika Európában  [Nations, Identities and Politics in Europe] [Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2006]; Európa utazása [The Voyage of Europe], co-authored with Krisztina Arató [Gondolat Kiadó, 2015]; Képzelt Európa [Imagined Europe], co-authored with Krisztina Arató [Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2013]) and several edited volumes. Published an edited volume with Alexei D. Voskressenski: The Regional World Order at Lexington, USA and contributed to L'Europe, une fracture á retardement volume edited by Violaine Delteil and Xavier Richet (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2019) with a chapter ‘Differentiated Union. The Only Way Forward or One That Leads to Disintegration?’

Miklós Lojkó is Associate Professor of Modern History at the School of English and American Studies of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. Visiting Professor at the Department of History of the Central European University, 2005-2015. PhD graduate of the University of Cambridge. His teaching and publications concentrate on political, economic and cultural ties between Western, Central and South-Eastern Europe during the first half of the 20th century.


Lojkó, Miklós. ‘Uncertain Beginnings in Danubian Central Europe: Embedding the new states system in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, 1919-1927’. In: Vom Nachkrieg zum Vorkrieg: Die Pariser Friedensverträge und die internationale Ordnung der Zwischenkriegszeit, edited by Ulrich Schlie, Miklos Lojko, and Thomas Weber, 59–76. Andrássy Studien zur Europaforschung 26. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2020.

Lojkó, Miklós. ‘The Age of Illusion? The Department of Overseas Trade between the Two World Wars: Three Case Studies.’ In The Foreign Office, Commerce and British Policy in the Twentieth Century, edited by John Fisher, Effie G. H. Pedaliu, and Richard Smith, 115–140. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Lojkó, Miklós. Meddling in Middle Europe: Britain and the ‘Lands Between’, 1919-1925. Budapest, New York: Central European University Press, 2006.

Thomas Lorman is a lecturer in Central European History at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, where he has been teaching since 2010. He also serves as editor of the journal ‘Central Europe’ and has published a number of studies of Slovak and Hungarian history focusing on the first half of the twentieth century. He currently teaches a range of courses on Central European history, including ‘The Contested Country – Hungary, 1790-1990’, ‘Czechoslovakia in the Age of Extremes, 1918-1993’ and ‘The Crisis Zone: Central Europe, 1900-1990’ and is currently starting a new research project on the last month of the Hungarian parliament in 1918

Selected Publications:

Lorman, Thomas. The Making of the Slovak People’s Party. Religion, Nationalism and the Culture War in Early 20th-Century Europe. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

Hörcher, Ferenc, Thomas Lorman, eds. A History of the Hungarian Constitution. Law, Government and Political Culture in Central Europe. London: I.B.Tauris, 2019.

Alexandra Mercescu is a Lecturer in Law at the West University of Timisoara (Romania) and an affiliated researcher at CLEST (Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory, Wrocław University, Poland) and Nomos (Centre for International Research on Law, Culture and Power, Jagiellonian University, Poland). She holds a PhD in comparative law from La Sorbonne for which she obtained the 1st Prize of the “Centre français de droit compare”. Alexandra is the author of Pour une comparaison des droits indisciplinée (Basel: Helbing Lichtenhahn, 2018), the editor of Constitutional Identities in Central and Eastern Europe (Bern: Peter Lang, 2020) and a co-author of Rethinking Comparative Law (forthcoming with Edward Elgar). During the current academic year Alexandra received the re:constitution Fellowship – a joint programme of Exchange and Analysis on Democracy and the Rule of Law in Europe promoted by Forum Transregionale Studien and Democracy Reporting International. Besides comparative legal theory and constitutionalism, her academic interests also lie in populism, legal epistemology, the relation between law and culture and legal education.

Réka Somssich is a full professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of ELTE University Budapest. She has been teaching there EU law and private international law since 2001. From 1997 until 2010 she worked as a laywer at the EU Law Department of the Hungarian Ministry of Justice what she was heading from 2004 on. During this period she participated at the accession negotiations of Hungary to the EU and afterwards she was acting as agent of the government at the European Court of Justice. She defended her PhD thesis in 2007 and completed the habilitation procedure in 2016. Since 2016 she is vice-dean in charge of education and student matters.

You can find the structure of the course on this link.

Back to ELTE Budapest Summer university 2021

E-mail: budapestsummer@elte.hu