Debt and Democracy

PRINCETON – The European Union’s sovereign-debt crisis constitutes a fundamental threat not only to the euro, but also to democracy and public accountability. At the moment, Europe’s woes and dilemmas are confined to relatively small countries like Greece, Ireland, and Hungary. But all of them look as if their governments have cheated on fundamental articles of the democratic contract.

The rotating presidency of the EU is about to shed a spotlight on one of these countries. Hungary’s turn at the EU helm comes at a time of fierce debate over Prime Minister Victor Orbán’s alteration of constitutional law and suppression of press freedom, as well as a new round of worries about the country’s financial sustainability.