Discussion: Illiberal Economies? On Economic Freedom in Poland and Hungary

Both Hungary and Poland have turned away from liberalism in recent years, at times openly embracing concepts like "illiberal democracy." While a lot of attention has been on the political implications of this trend, this discussion will look at the economic dimension of the illiberal turn. The discussants, both former central bankers in their countries, will reflect upon the trajectory of economic liberalism in post-communist transformation, the current state of affairs, and the perspectives for the future.

Júlia Király is an associate professor of finance and monetary economics of the International Business School (IBS) Budapest and the Corvinus University Budapest. She is the Research Associate of the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She used to be the Deputy Governor of the MNB, the Central Bank of Hungary, responsible for financial stability and member of the Monetary Council during the crisis years (2007-2013), and as such head of the Hungarian delegation in the Vienna Initiative (2009-2013). Prior to this she was one of the owners and CEO of the ITCB Budapest, a well-known training and consulting company in the banking sector (1989-2007). Since October 2021 she has been one of the advisors of Péter Márki-Zay, the would be prime minister of the unified Hungarian opposition. She has several publications on monetary policy, banking and finance. www.juliakiraly.com.

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz is a Polish politician and lawyer, Professor of Public and Banking  Law at the Law Department of Warsaw University and the author of 80 research papers. Between 1992 and 2000, she was the Chairperson of the National Bank of Poland. From 2001 till 2004, she was Vice president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.She was a member of the Polish Parliament in 2005-2006and served as the Mayor of Warsaw for three terms between 2006-2018. Since 2019 she is the chair of the Mission Board for climate neutral and smart cities.

Lars Fredrik Stöcker holds a PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute in Florence and a diploma in cultural studies from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. He was earlier employed at the Institute of History at Tallinn University and the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and completed a fellowship at the Imre Kertész Kolleg at the University of Jena. Since 2015, he has been working at the University of Vienna, currently as the PI of the bilateral joint project “A Breach in the System: The ‘Polonia Firms’ 1976–1994” (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Jerzy Kochanowski at the University of Warsaw) at the Research Center for the History of Transformations and as coordinator for Baltic Sea Region Studies at the Department for Scandinavian Studies. Among his latest publications is the monograph Bridging the Baltic Sea: Networks of Resistance and Opposition during the Cold War Era, which was published as part of the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series by Lexington Books in 2018.