Your Essay 2014 What could bring Central Europe..

The subject of your essay „What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?”

Essay – 4000-5000 characters, send at 09-12.06.

40 thoughts on “Your Essay 2014 What could bring Central Europe..

  1. Road to the East

    The European Union, because of the Iron Curtain, united primarily the countries of Western Europe. Its backbone was France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Commonwealth countries dynamically develop their economy, but the Union itself has not gained geopolitical importance. It was still only voluntary community of states

    This situation was changed with the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1989 Western Europe stood before enormous opportunity. Opportunity to unite the whole continent and extending the zone of influence from Lisbon to Tallinn. The most important in this process were the countries of Central Europe.

    Due to the delay in theirs economic integration process took a long time. The EU has allocated significant resources to modernize their industry, fighting corruption and building infrastructure. At the same time UE was beneficiaries of their own investments. New roads accelerated transit. Modernization of the industry increased trade. But all of this was nothing in compared to that what happened in 2004.

    Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania joined the Community and increased the area occupied by the Union for almost a quarter. The largest in the history integration was incomparable to anything. The new EU countries refreshed thinking of Western politicians and gave the Community a new impetus to act. The total GDP of the European Union has been rapidly increased. This was the origin of a new world power.

    Besides the obvious economical and geopolitical benefits, new members brought into Community many new ideas for it’s functioning. Czechs gave theirs pragmatism, Poles – attachment to tradition and Hungarians – the kitchen. Europe has been also enriched with the new micro-regions such as Pomorze or Western Carpathians. New trends also appeared in diplomacy.

    A prime example of this is the Eastern Partnership. This program was created with the Polish initiative in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy. His inauguration took place in 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic. The Eastern Partnership assumed coverage eastern countries, such as Belarus or Ukraine, with preferences trade network and aid programs. Ultimately, the countries covered by the Eastern Partnership were to become future members of the European Union. Measurable effects of the program include: the signing of association agreements between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldavia, as well as visa agreement with Azerbaijan.

    Also the Polish Presidency brought to Western Europe a new look to concept of boundaries. It priority was to increase the global competitiveness of the EU economy, strengthening of the cohesion policy and increasing work on energy security program of the whole UE.

    Another important factor that Central European countries were brought to the UE was exceptional people. I mean the highly educated doctors, prominent architects, graphic designers, programmers, and various kinds of specialists. Thanks to their work Western Europe could further develop their potential.

    Not without significance was the culture of the new member states. Seweryn or Pszoniak – there are two names of the most famous persons who are playing on the European theaters stages for years. Accession countries such as Poland also contributed to specifically renaissance of classical music. I am of course talking about the popularity of Chopin. Also, many contemporary bands record their songs in studios of London and Berlin. Their add „eastern touch” to the western music industry.

    However, if I have to answer the question: what was the most important thing that we appealed to the UE?, I would argue: the road to the East. Integration of 2004 allowed Union to expand the boundaries and create a kind of modern empire built on consensus. Also it proved that the Union is able to become associated with the post-communist economies. And that give UE endless possibilities … in the East.

  2. Co mogłyby wnieść do wartości i ideałów europejskich państwa wschodnioeuropejskie?

    Dla poprawnej i dogłębnej odpowiedzi na tak postawione pytanie trzeba by było zbadać ogromną ilość literatury – nie tylko współczesnej, lecz i dziejowej, wraz z całą specyfiką kulturową i historią wschodnioeuropejskich regionów. Trzeba by było wykazać cały szereg wzajemnych powiązań kulturowo-twórczych pomiędzy obszarami określanymi tą zbiorczą nazwą – począwszy od kolebki kultury europejskiej w starożytnej Grecji, aż do wydarzeń takich jak inkorporacja Ukraińskiego Krymu, czy utworzenie Republiki Donbasu i wreszcie deklaracja utworzenia Noworosji. Jest to niemożliwe w tak skromnej pod względem objętościowym pracy. Dlatego też zawężę spectrum problematyki tego zagadnienia do stricte możliwości dzisiaj się rozpościerających przed państwami takimi jak Mołdawia, Ukraina, być może w przyszłości i Białoruś – względem reszty Europy.
    Z przyczyn czysto ekonomicznych możliwe w przyszłości przyłączenie do Unii Europejskiej Ukrainy, oraz powoli coraz bardziej kompletowane przyłączenie do niej Mołdawii jest opłacalne dla tego tworu z dwóch powodów. Zachód potrzebuje licznej imigracji dla utrzymania obecnego rzędu dochodów. Bo o ile w Stanach Zjednoczonych liczba populacji wciąż rośnie, a nawet przyrost ludności osiąga coraz większy współczynnik – o tyle w EU zachodzi sytuacja analogicznie odwrotna. Fakt, że wykwalifikowana kadra zawodowa byłaby najchętniej oczekiwanym źródłem imigracji w krajach EU, ale najczęściej są to jednak najniższe klasy średnie z krajów Maghrebu. Sytuacja jest o tyle korzystna, że zwiększa poziom tolerancji w państwach EU, które nigdy nie zetknęły się na taką miarę z tak różnorodną kulturą. Jednakże na dłuższą metę może to zacząć przybierać formę tego co ma obecnie miejsce w „starych krajach” EU – czyli po-kryzysowego wzrostu reakcjonizmu ruchów anty-imigracyjnych o zapatrywaniach narodowych. Przed wyborami do Parlamentu EU, najgroźniejszym wydawała się polityka skierowana przeciw mniejszości Romskiej. Poza strukturami EU, mieliśmy do czynienia ze skrajnie nietolerancyjną polityką prowadzoną przez niemieckie kantony Szwajcarii – szczególnie wyraźną w kampaniach publicznych przeciw budowie trzeciego meczetu w tym kraju. Plakaty z wizerunkiem meczetu – do złudzenia przypominającym bombę nuklearną i hasła wzywające do zachowania chrześcijańskiej tożsamości państwa(co ciekawe w Szwajcarii jest więcej wyznawców hinduizmu niż mahometan). Natomiast jakie wpływy ma ruch narodowy i jego pochodne w czasach kryzysu, mogliśmy obserwować po raz kolejny w wyborach Parlamentarnych EU 2014. Nie tylko Francja Mari La Pen, nie tylko Wlk. Brytania, również Polska. Nasz przypadek jest szczególnie dotkliwy z powodu tego, iż w Polsce jak i w Niemczech według ostatnich badań BBC ruch narodowy jest najsilniej i najlepiej zorganizowany i w największym procencie(zaraz po Węgrach) składający się z intelektualistów – co jest tym bardziej zatrważające. Telewizja CNN posunęła się wręcz do pokazania filmu nt. morderstw na tle nacjonalistycznym działających na Węgrzech bojówek kilku oficjalnych i nieoficjalnych partii i zrzeszeń. Choć są to przypadki marginalne – niemniej jednak mają one miejsce. Imigracja z krajów o wspólnej przeszłości i nieco jednak podobnych tradycjach i – co najistotniejsze – tożsamych zapatrywań społeczeństw z krajów takich jak Mołdawia, czy Ukraina – do krajów „starej Unii” mogłaby mieć zatem zbawienny skutek. Nie tylko w postaci ratowania systemu emerytalnego i przemysłu krajów EU, lecz również z powodów światopoglądowych.
    Inną kwestią byłoby ułatwienie wymiany handlowej poprzez unię celną jak i poszerzenie wpływów polityki Unii Europejskiej – podniesienie jej poziomu ludności i znaczenia międzynarodowego. Unia Azjatycka, której poprzednie twory zgodnie z tezą Samuela Huntingtona – zaczęły upadać – teraz w końcu znajduje się w sytuacji, w której może rozwinąć się w stałą strefę wspólnego handlu i polityki pod egidą Chin, już nie tylko kraje Południowo-Azjatyckie, już nie koncepcje Japońsko-Australijskie – lecz trwalsza unia skupiona wokół inwestycji chińskich przedsiębiorców.
    Inną sprawą jest wniesienie ponownie do Europy zwyczaju wielodzietności – silnego w Mołdawii, w mniejszym stopniu również na Ukrainie. Co tylko przyspieszy proces odbudowy gospodarczej. Co prawda fala emigracji z powyższych krajów na początku dotkliwie uderzy w nie gospodarczo, aczkolwiek w ciągu najdalej kilku dekad uda im się przywrócić do poprzedniego stanu liczbowego – jednakże z wzmocnioną gospodarką – czego idealnym wręcz przykładem jest przypadek Słowenii.
    Poza tym włączenie tych dwóch krajów pozwoliłoby na łatwiejsze w późniejszym stadium włączenie do EU kolejnych krajów Bałkańskich, ze względu na wypracowane już uprzednio scenariusze modernizacyjne i odpowiednie zespoły ekspertów biorących udział w powyższych przedsięwzięciach.
    Obecnie według standardów imigracyjnych Turcja powinna zostać potraktowana jako pierwszy kraj, który miały zostać przyjęty do Unii Europejskiej po sfinalizowaniu umowy członkowskiej z Mołdawią. Już dziś przybiera to absurdalne formy, gdy Tureccy obywatele notorycznie przekraczają granicę Niemiecką i dla pozostania przy pracy muszą zrzekać się tureckiego obywatelstwa, aby je potem przyjąć z powrotem. Doprowadza to w konsekwencji do takich abstrakcji, że Uniwersytet Warszawski na naukę języka Niemieckiego wysyłając do najlepszych Uniwersytetów Germanistyki – wysyła studentów do Ankary, czy Stambułu równie często jak do Berlina, czy Hamburga.
    Polityka rolna Unii Europejskiej co prawda byłaby nie korzystna w pierwszych chwilach po przyjęciu Mołdawii, czy Ukrainy do EU, jednakże dzięki przyspieszonej modernizacji państwa te uzyskałyby z biegiem lat znacznie wyższą produktywność. Poza tym wymusiłoby to ogromną industrializację zaniedbanych przez te państwa innych sektorów gospodarki. W konsekwencji również firmy i korporacje EU znalazłyby nowe rynki zbytu, a sam program rozwoju tych krajów zwiększył by zapotrzebowanie na wykfalifikowanych ekspertów do spraw rozwoju – co ułatwiło by po raz kolejny wymianę gospodarczą w krajach EU i w konsekwencji przyspieszyłoby rozpoczęty proces wyrównywania poziomu dochodowego w Unii Europejskiej z korzyścią dla niemal wszystkich jej członków.

  3. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe
    into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Over the years the history of Europe has been changing diametrically and even though the process is still on, researches allow us to make a summary. The most important thing is to have on mind that focusing on the past is needed and required to do analysis but everyone, who wants to learn or even create significant and accurate assumptions about the incoming future, should not be so much affected by facts of the past. It is understandable that still many people feel anger, especially this part of societies which remember times of communism. But if we would like to take another step into modernistic reality, it could help everyone trying to gain it just put aside those bad memories and venture to enter the gate which opens when is only asked.
    It is vital to introduce some features to characterize our mutual European identity. To push ourselves into total world improvement every European citizen should bring some energy to creating supranational shape among societies and nations. That could allow us build a new huge society besides the national level. People involved, could feel that they belong to one group and nobody is a stranger. Another thing is that such cooperation is predicted to be successful as far as the globalization is concerned. Within the globalized world we must be prepared to international development and the government of every country has to adjust economy to a new situation.
    Countries of Central Europe are chasing the western part of the world to equal standards of living. Above mentioned building a mutual identity is very desired and this is what those countries are trying to gain. What is more interesting, the West is helping Central Europe in this pursuit. It is important for them to understand that this help will do good not only in point of view of aided countries but also for “sponsors”.
    What started integrating this part of Europe was merging in 1991 four countries of Central Europe: Poland, Slovak Republic, Hungary and Czech Republic. They have decided to cooperate in case to prevent generating new divisions after the collapse of Eastern Block. This coalition showed that to live well and boost factors which are particular to develop economy was major to start respecting human rights, building parliamentary democracy and just to dispose of leftover of the previous system. It was a spark in showing how supporting ourselves and deliberating on the international area can influence on thinking of the others. The rest realized that it is more beneficial to try to get into similar relation than to fight for their rights where costs of duel were often higher than real profits.
    Another step in narrowing the cooperation between Central Europe countries is a preparation the Central Europe Programme 2014–2020. The initiative includes not only countries which gathered in 1991, it spreads over additional countries such as: Austria, Slovenia and Croatia with Western Ukraine are also considered. Its aim is to move the growth of those territories within circumscribing mutual challenges that all of them should take. This activity can bring many profits because of fact that it engages European Union to give more funds in order to have an input in development what, in effect, evens up chances of those countries against the rest, more developed. The Strategy of Programme allows stakeholders and other private companies to support in funding innovations that they could take some profits as well. It also promotes mobility between countries in order to improve conditions of employment and give more possibilities for those people who are aimed on making a carrier but they do not have any opportunity to do that in their own countries, for example because an area to do research is not well adjusted.
    It is noticeable that this kind of activity is badly necessary especially in light of situation in Ukraine. The transnational mobility is intensified and it should be in our duty to help Ukrainian who are now in need of support from the countries placed more on the West.
    In my opinion it is significant that Poland involves in cooperating with other countries and has a word on the international area. Last times show that polish politics is getting be better considered by more powerful sides. Last visit of Barrack Obama in June 2014 is an example that we , as Central Europe, are more recognized and our moves are supported. The cooperation was started what is a quantum leap in the better future for all of us from Europe and environs.

  4. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Every country in Europe has its own distinct history, culture, identity and history. Developmental and clear differences in the regions or geographical areas of Europe, were mainly the war, but the level of economic, intellectual achievements, as well as the location on the map. Western Europe after 1945 experienced economic boom caused by the post-war rebuilding of earlier losses and destruction, it was a time of prosperity, a period of „greatest thirties”. It was also the moment when the Western elite has coined the idea of a common integration, first in the context of coal mining and steel, which is strictly economic integration, and then in the course of time this continued tightening integration and spillover effect. From the European Economic Community integration has come to the level of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the single currency and advanced cooperation in many aspects, which formally sanctioned the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.
    Entirely different circumstances shaped after World War II, the area of Central Europe. Well, at that time, countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, were under the influence of Soviet politics, belonged to the Eastern Bloc, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The dependence of the countries of central and eastern meant as authoritarian governments, dependence headquarters in Moscow, as well as wet behind the ears economy. „Launched by Gorbachev avalanche eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though still in 1990 many sovietologists did not believe that it is possible.”[1] So the last decade millennium ended in European history stage communist, Soviet, and began to stage the peace, democracy, European integration, the integration of Central Europe.
    Central Europe is by Zbigniew Brzezinski: „lands lying east of Germany and west of Russia” , that is, de facto, all countries between former antagonists, and thus the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. It is important to distinguish between eastern and central Europe. It was a peculiar desire of countries to date associated with the Eastern bloc, which was associated with „growing in the region desire to become a genuine part of the return of Europe and not go to the bottom, as Eastern Europe, with its political and cultural center in Moscow.”[3]
    What, therefore, contribute brought this new, yet unformed „idea” of Central Europe for the whole continent? First of all, in terms of cultural contribution was significant, because such famous people like Czeslaw Milosz, Mircea Eliade, Andy Warhol, Joseph Roth, Milan Kundera roots are straight from the middle of Europe. In addition, hundreds of other writers, philosophers, and politicians from Central Europe has achieved fame and success around the world, such as the previously quoted Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s adviser on U.S. national security. Central European thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Emil Cioran contributed to the intellectual, which has used and is using the whole of Europe. „In this way is challenged peripheral central Europe and the wider wisdom of dividing the world into center and periphery in general (…)”[4]
    Central Europe was a place of incredible transformations of importance for the whole of Europe, and called the Autumn of Nations. These events were important for the democratization of the entire continent. „4th of June Polish elections gave impetus to the rapid return of Central Europe on the stage of history.”[5] Indeed, the transformation in Central Europe has included this area in the intellectual circle around the continent. Both the Polish „Solidarity”, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the disintegration of Czechoslovakia had a profound significance for the intellectual life of the whole continent.
    It is worth quoting the fact of integration between Central European countries, their specific solidarity. Important was the issue of the Visegrad Group, today the neglected due to the presence of the members of today’s associations in other organizations, with a greater range, but in the early 90s, it was a symbolic reconciliation. „This is a result of deliberate policy of diplomatic elites Polish, Czech, Slovakia and Hungary, striving after 1989, the membership of their countries of NATO, and then by priority in the accession to the European Union.”[6] Presence in major organizations (which are the essence of democracy and Western policy) was motive aspirations of the countries of Central Europe.
    Central Europe is a geographical area and an intellectual, who after the fall of the Soviet Union had to „invent” himself. With the help of the elite, writers, politicians, thanks to integration aspirations of the rest of Europe, thanks to the adoption of the acquis and mental, as well as by its own contribution into it, Central Europe has become an important „idea” in the life of an entire continent. It is not without significance for the development of intellectual and symbolic of Europe were strong aspiration and desire for freedom, a form of dissent, centrifugal movements in Central Europe of the 80, the struggle for human rights (ROPCiO, Card 77). „Poland, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc. The only thing they have in common, is the historical fact of being subjected to the Soviet regime. If one accepts this definition, one must assume that there is for these countries a common destiny. It created a policy.”[7] Therefore also a shared legacy, though unpleasant, let constitute in the minds of new geographical and symbolic existence.

    [1] Edwin Bendyk „Zatruta studnia. Rzecz o władzy i wolności.” Warszawa 2002, s. 35.
    [2] Zbigniew Brzeziński „Powrót do Europy Środkowej” kwartalnik polityczny „Aneks”, nr 49/1988.
    [3] Ibidem.
    [4] Edwin Bendyk „Zatruta studnia. Rzecz o władzy i polityce” Warszawa 2002, s. 45.
    [5] Ibidem, s. 53.
    [6] Aleksander Kaczorowski „Powrót do Europy środkowej?” w: Instytut idei 1/2012
    [7] Guy Sorman „Uczmy się od siebie” w: Instytut idei 1/2102

  5. One cannot begin to discuss intellectual life without confronting some destructive stereotypes. Intellectual life, first of all, is not confined to intellectuals. Intellectuals as a class do exist, though they are defined and organized in different ways in different cultures. They can play a valuable role. But a democracy cannot depend on intellectuals alone. A democracy requires the intellectual effort of all its citizens, and it must value intellectual practices other than those associated with high culture.
    Everyone has an intellectual life; everyone has questions and thinks about them. But many unfortunate dynamics have conspired to prevent the intellectual life of democratic society from reaching its full potential. Intellectual talent and achievement are often treated as the status markers of an elite, and the formally meritocratic procedures of democratic education can be used to increase the stigma associated with modest educational success. Intellectual snobbery can be used to control people, and it provokes intellectual insecurities and defensive reactions. The very attempt to discuss intellectual life can be perceived as an attempt to lay a burden of judgement on people whose lives are too demanding to enable them to live up to it, and intellectual aspirations may be culturally marked as a betrayal of one’s group, for example as „acting white”. The norms of intellectual life may be interpreted as attempts to bias political rules or to pacify dissent, and indeed such interpretations have often had much basis in truth.
    Intellectual life has often been caught in political conflicts. Burkean conservatives long questioned the wisdom of attributing rationality to the lower orders, much less educating them, lest they take it upon themselves to devise a new social order (Herzog 1998). The founder of modern public relations, Edward Bernays, was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, and was quite open in his project of using Freud’s ideas to keep social decision-making power in the hands of an elite few (Ewen 1996). This is not a democratic vision of intellectual life. Marxism, for its part, has often celebrated the worker-intellectual, and particularly the collective intellectual efforts of working people. Such Marxist texts as E. P. Thompson’s (1963) „The Making of the English Working Class” are the foremost depictions of popular intellectual life. But in practice the Leninist vanguardism of most organized Marxism has promoted the opposite approach, in which the workers are molded and judged in terms of the degree of conformance between their views and the world-encompassing theories of the intellectual-activist elite.
    What’s missing in each case is a democratic spirit of trust in the intellectual judgement of ordinary people. Modern scholarship has gone a long way toward valuing popular culture, often applying the interpretive methods of literary criticism and anthropology to recover its intellectual and political content (Grossberg, Nelson, and Treichler 1992). Poetry slams, for example, are a novel intellectual practice whose participants, largely young African-Americans, are often simply unacquainted with the effete stereotypes that afflict poetry elsewhere (Clines 1997). Skepticism about a broad-based intellectual life, then, is partly a result of narrow definitions, partly a lack of imagination, and partly a real cultural problem that a new generation of social innovators, armed with appropriate new technologies, can hope to overcome.
    The economic changes brought about by increased trade and the emergence of cities created new tensions in medieval society. These tensions permeated the boundaries of class, gender, ethnicity, and religion. The interaction between rural and urban classes led to the establishment of new political organizations and laws designed to balance the needs of competing classes.
    As towns emerged, new social classes—such as merchants and artisans—disrupted the established social patterns of medieval society. According to the traditional view, three orders worked together in the rural community: the warrior aristocracy, or people who fight; the peasantry, or people who work; and the clergy, or people who pray. These traditional communities were organized in a hierarchy and bound together like a family, with the noble acting as a father figure over his household and the village inhabitants. Townspeople, who earned their living through crafts or commerce, broke from these rural obligations and familial ties, so they created new social networks through associations called guilds. Merchant guilds protected the town’s interests by regulating trade with outsiders and providing benefits for members. Craft guilds organized by tanners, butchers, and weavers set wage and price controls and established rules for apprenticeship and membership. To some religious writers, the urban freedoms of the newly chartered towns seemed to undermine the traditional hierarchical order of society. Others thought merchants were worldly and materialistic because they did no work of their own but rather profited from others’ labor by buying and selling goods. Contrary to this opinion, guilds spread their wealth by giving alms to the poor and building churches to visibly demonstrate their members’ collective piety.

    Popular religion also reflected this social and religious ferment. Most people in medieval Europe were Christian by baptism at birth and participated in church rituals throughout their lives. They did penance for sins, attended Mass, and went on pilgrimages to holy sites containing relics of saints. In the cities, lay people began seeking a more intense religious experience to counterbalance the materialism of their urban lives. Many were drawn into new religious movements, not all of which were approved by the church. This led to conflict between church-taught orthodox teachings and practices and heresy, beliefs and practices that were condemned as false by the church and considered a danger to Christendom. Like the religious orders, heresies such as the Cathars (also known as the Albigensians), the Waldensians, and the Spiritual Franciscans emphasized spiritual life; however, they also criticized the church’s materialism and challenged its authority. For instance, the Cathars rejected the body as evil and saw no need for priests. Church leaders condemned them as heretics, while secular rulers, bent on suppressing local rebellions against their authority, carried out a military crusade to destroy their strongholds in southern France. The church, whose doctrine and order were threatened by these groups, appointed preachers such as the Dominicans to teach correct doctrine and also commissioned inquisitors to detect heretics and recommend them for punishment.

  6. Łukasz Kalużny

    What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    It is not possible to define clearly what Central Europe is and which countries constitute it. There are many reasons for the present ambiguity. Firstly, we have to question if Central Europe is a territorial reality or rather a spiritual one that cannot be ascribed to an exact geographical territory, what is not easy to specify. Taking into consideration the territorial aspect of Central Europe we face more serious problems. The biggest one is to decide which criteria (historical-cultural, social-economic, political or geopolitical) can be used to estimate the borders or even much broader only the border lines of Central Europe. Another problem that appears when trying to discover Central Europe’s borders and territory is the need to establish it based on such social, political, economic, cultural and religious diversity when Europe is perceived as a unity. On the border parts we can observe an enormous fusion and infiltration of specific elements of the local cultures and traditions1.
    Central Europe is seen very often as Anti-East or Non-East. On the other hand Central Europe is, in addition, Non-West. Central Europeans are aware of their roots that come from the Latin Civilization. The eastern parts of Europe are also associated with the communist period. The regions of Central Europe have a lot in common: this part of Europe is mainly Catholic, its architectural and literary traditions come from one stream, though of course they differ in many specific aspects. The central part of Europe isn’t a marketplace and a sum of the Eastern and Westerncultures. It is very unique and original.
    Central Europe can also be seen as a positive category. It has a distinctive unity on the frame of the Old Continent that consists of unique features (negative and positive ones). This part of the region draws from the East and the West. It is called so often a ‚meeting point’. We should take into consideration different types of meetings, related to the exchange of the economic and cultural goods and in addition those bloody ones connected to battles and wars2.
    I strongly support the opinion that Central Europe can bring a lot to the intellectual life of the whole continent. Thanks to the Bologna Process that has 47 participating countries, there was ensured the comparability in the standards and quality of higher education in the whole of Europe. The reform of the European Higher Education Area facilitated the move of students who can take part in very different exchange programmes (Erasmus, Erasmus +) and apply for scholarships. It allows thousands of students to get to know other cultures and study local languages. I have personally met lots of foreign students from Italy, Spain, Portugal who enjoyed their stay in Poland and the quality of the Polish school system. The meeting between students from Western and Central Europe is very fruitful and during it many stereotypes are destroyed. The students have the possibility to understand each other better, they start to meet, be friends, discuss the local problems, read the local newspapers, literature and study profoundly the history of the place they stay in. I have met several Italians in Bologna that spoke Polish fluently which was not the result of their study but of their interests and the possibility to improve it with the local Poles who were participating in the Erasmus Programme. It is very common that post Erasmus students come back to the countries they studied in with more friends and family members. Sometimes they decide to work there. What I have noticed is that Central Europe is appreciated by the Eastern Europeans also for the art (film, theatre, music), local cuisine, landscape, lower prices and significant cultural and architectural differences.
    Poland, as an example of a Central European country plays a significant role in the process of ‚Europeanisation’ of the countries lying on the border between Central and Eastern Europe. Dyczewski states that Poland constitutes a geographic gate to Europe for its eastern border neighbours3. Poland is an advocate of the Ukrainian participation in the talks related to its presence in the UE. Poland was active and tried hard to attract public attention to the Ukrainian conflict. The first meeting between the American and Ukrainian presidents took place in Warsaw. Central Europe is a very important region. Thanks to the project of the Eastern Partnership the Old Continent broadens its influences and becomes enriched by the cultures of the Central European Countries.

  7. The Role of elites and Intellectuals from Central Europe on the issue of European Integration

    Only few weeks have been passed since the time that latest European Parliamentary election took place. But yet we can see how the Europe has been affected by the meaningful outcome of the election as such. It seems that all those meanings which are impelled by European Elites within the last decades, since the fall of “Iron Curtain “, in order to construct a solid portrayal for contemporary Europe , are all of sudden become irrelevant and useless . Some argue that this recent hit of Financial Crisis was just a trigger to reveal the greater depth of severe crisis in which Europe has been stuck. On the other hand it can be also said that contemporary Europe suffers of what is known as “Identity Dilemma “. The dramatic failure of “Normative Approach “ ,which was employed to come up with cohesive and universal “Grand Narrative” for “European integration” since the end of “ Cold War” , is now bringing back both Europe’s public opinion and European elites to very basic questions above the issue of European identity which seems are almost remained unanswered .
    Although the EU (European Union ) itself is centered as the main concern for most of those so called mainstream critics but, in my opinion, some of major complications are rather present beyond the organizational chaos of power distribution in EU and therefore the “ Conflict of Interest” amongst its member states . Of course the EU must yet be treated as one of the main problems, but certainly not as the major one. Therefore I would like to refer to the paradoxical perception , which is present , above the EU’s ultimate function and duty . Indeed there were many optimists who assumed the EU as the “Supranational” and “Postmodern” organization which its job was to unify European nations away from existing nation-states. The project of EU was, in fact, a very aspiring solution to long lasting quest of European Elites who had desired to get rid of Europe’s painful past. It could be argued that European intellectuals believed EU can reflect, more or less, some sort of Kantian cosmopolitanism, at least, within the geographical boundaries of Europe as a continent. At the present time the intensive flames of such optimism are faded away and instead the significant skepticism is rising amongst the European elites and intellectuals towards the reliability of European Union as the eligible representative for European nations.
    The reason can be explained by referring to significant Structural deficiency which exists in EU and is also becoming more persistent than it was before . The EU, that once had supposed to create effective Pluralism amongst Europeans, is now has meaningfully been transformed to Bureaucratic supranational entity in which the political and economic powers have been highly concentrated in the hands of certain affiliated institutions in Brussels. Therefore I would argue that EU has rather undergone systematic Unification Process more than constructive integration. Since the major policies have to be ratified in Brussels therefore the Sovereign states are facing several burdens besides having tied hands in terms of implementing both domestic and foreign policies of their own countries. The Fear of what I would like to call “ Sovietization” of Europe is currently going to undermine the legitimacy of European Union into very significant extend . As what I have been noticed such fear is even more evident amongst many of intellectuals and elites from central and eastern European countries . They strongly believe that EU , into some extends , is resembling the Soviet Union and indeed the Moscow has been replaced by Brussels and thus , ironically the red color has been changed to the blue one . They highly criticize the present “Europeanization Paradigm “ and thus its principal incapability to provide the pragmatic resolution for current issues of Europe.
    I would rather avoid to argue here whether the notion of Central Europe is a pure geopolitical expression , or it is based on historical and present realities , or it is rather very abstract and broad concept which also includes those earlier assumptions . But what I perceived is how these so called Central European countries ( Poland , Czech Republic , Hungary ) struggled to shape their collective and national identity in accordance to present Europeanization metaphor . In my opinion elites and intellectuals of these nations here used to play, somehow, an ambivalent role. The dominant discourse, which was common amongst all these nations, and indeed it must be considered as very elitist justification, speaks up about Historical deviant which caused these nations to be detached from the rest of continental Europe while they used to be very crucial part of the continent . Therefore such elitist perception led these countries to partially ignore some episodes of their history and instead tried to emphasize on specific periods which were much preferred in order to justify their emerging identity as Central Europeans. But Later on the “Realpolitik” in the region (Central Europe) had proofed the incompatibility of normative approaches with geopolitical concerns.
    I think at this moment the elites and intellectuals of Central European countries have this opportunity to bring their experiences above on the issues of European Integration and therefore find the common ground with others intellectuals across the continent. As we can the conventional notion of Political and Social Cleavages are not relevant anymore. Europe is facing “New Social Reality” and the current European Political system is incapable to cope with these changes. This is also why Political and civic participation in Europe is quite low. I think Central European Elites and Intellectuals together with their counterparts from continental Europe have to try to build Strong and universal “Civil society” across the continent. This exemplified civil society must be independent from all those so called European institutions (Specially EU) and indeed to prevent itself from the hegemony of existing disordered polity in Europe.

  8. I’m deeply sorry for not meeting the deadline, delay was caused by the need to study other subjects. I hope that after all it is not too late and I will get grade.

    What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Central Europe is a variously defined region of the European continent. Countries placed in Central Europe according to most popular definitions are: Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia. In some definitions CE also includes countries such as: Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia or even some parts of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, France, Italy or Romania.
    There are also some sources according to which there is division for West-Central Europe and East-Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia). Taking into account the differences in recent history and thus the social and economic development of this two regions, I would like to focus only on East-Central Europe.
    To answer the question of what could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent, we need at the beginning define what are the main differences in intellectual life between CE and rest of the Europe, and also find the reasons for these differences. As I mentioned in the introduction recent history has not been kind for the CE countries. Shortly after regaining independence from multinational Empires (Russian, Prussian or Habsburg) barely reconstructed countries in this region, found themselves between two of the most horrible regimes in history – USSR and Nazi Germany.
    Some of CE countries choose the path of cooperation with those regimes (Hungary and Ukraine with Nazis) some decided to fight on two fronts (like Poland theoretically, but in my opinion we were fighting only with Nazis). But during the war all of them suffered severe losses, significantly bigger than those of other European countries, especially when it comes to intellectuals. It happened because both regimes feared intellectuals and knew that they had to get rid of them to take domination over rest of the nation.
    After WW2 all of East Central Europe countries found themselves in zone of USRR influence, what actually destroyed the idea of Central Europe for nearly half a century, splitting Europe and even the whole world on east and West.
    During soviet occupation intellectuals were still oppressed so most of theme were broken or gone abroad, additionally the process of educating new intellectual class have begun. As you can easily guess the new intelligence was educated in accordance with soviet standards so mediocre units with soft spines were promoted. At the time our intellectuals have learned the absolute subordination to the ideologies proclaimed in the metropole – Moscow.
    In this period social resistance grow more and more in CE countries, this resistance was directed in both the Soviet domination as well as the communist system. On the beginning the USRR managed to military suppress those rebelions, but subsequent international sanctions and progressive collapse of its economy weakened the threat of armed intervention in the countries of the Warsaw system, giving their puppet Governments greater freedom.
    The growing social discontent combined with less repressive authority caused some of the intellectuals began to look for another source of ideas than Moscow. They found it in the West, most of them in Europe (Paris, Berlin) some of them in USA.
    I don’t want to go into details concerning the collapse of „communism” in the countries of the CE, but it is worth mentioning that only in the Czech Republic we saw some form of decommunization. In other countries of the region there were no revolutions, but renunciation of power by the communists after negotiating favourable terms with opposition.
    These terms led to fact that despite the regime change, there has been no exchange of elites both intellectual and political, but only broadening of their environment by the former opposition. Collapse of „communism” was also accompanied by a shift of the Eastern CE region to the Western zone of influence (Euro/American). Adapted for servility elite faced by the necessity of finding a new metropole and of course they found it in the west as the opposition earlier.
    Responding to a question asked in the title of this essay, I believe that the current intellectual elite of the CE countries are not able to bring anything to the intellectual life of the whole continent. This is because our elites with minor exceptions, are incapable of independent thinking, mindlessly copying patterns from the west and rejecting our tradition and our dissimilarity. What is more, in my opinion our political elites do not think about the national interest hoping that someone else will take care of it for example EU for our economy and NATO for our defence. Unfortunately, this is a very naive approach leading us to the post-colonial system when all ideas come from metropole and the periphery, are drained out of money and brightest individuals. This situation will probably change when an exchange of elites will take place, maybe due to growing up of new elites raised in other conditions. (We already can see big changes in the way of thinking of young people, and in some countries – Hungary)

  9. FInally figure it out, I’m so sorry for being late with this essay, I really had trouble with adding it to this website. I hope you’ll understand it. Best Regards.

    What new in your opinion could Central Europe bring into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Europe is the second smallest continent in the world rich in history and colorful culture. This continent has 24 official languages and around 50 countries of the world. After world war two and subsequent formation of the EU, interaction between countries have increased manifold thereby, forming strong economic and political relations. This newfound union helped each country benefit from another.

    Although there has been this divide among the continent. Social democratic Nordic countries, rich urbanized west and poor central and eastern countries. Central Europe has despite being an important part of the continent been looked down upon by the Western and Nordic regions, because of economic backwardness.

    However, what is remarkable about them is their resilience. Some of these countries had to fight communism and adhere to democratic notions. Whereas, others had to seek freedom from oppressive empires. The common denominator here in their struggle is transition to a market economy. Needless to say, these countries have made considerable progress. These states made following changes

     ownership structure of business entities through privatisation,
     abolition of state control over foreign trade,
     liberalisation of international financial flows,
     introduction of legal regulations to stimulate entrepreneurship development,
     liberalisation of prices
    The GDP share in the private sector has increased up to 60 percent or more. These countries sell two thirds of their exports in the EU markets and receive same propotion of foreign invesmtent inflow in the EU. The international reserve cover is rather strong in these countries and the external debt has declined significantly. Also, inflation has been cut down from staggering double digits to single digits now. The key successful changes in these countries has been forming a complex plexus of structural and macroeconomic adjustment which led to imposition of strong budget constraints on firms, liberlising prices, openeing trade and rigorous reformation of the financial sector.
    The countries of Central Europe—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—are among the more advanced transition economies. They are a diverse group, with per capita incomes ranging from $3,500 in Slovakia to $9,900 in Slovenia, different industrial structures, and varying degrees of openness to trade.
    In the lieu of recent geo political crisis, Ukraine and Russia, Poland has been a key player of negotiations between EU and Russia. There was influx of NATO soldiers to come train in Poland. President Obama visited Poland to discuss the central issues regarding the crisis. Poland has recently become a really important partner for creating new Eastern European Policy.This demonstrated how Poland has risen to become an effective international actor.
    Central Europe has undoubtedly become one of the most astounding success stories of Europe. Within the last ten years, the region speaks confidently not just for it’s position in Europe but also across the continents. Having built on strong and inspiring historical legacy of resilience and adapting to the jarring changes after 1989, it has now become a growth engine for wider EU economy.

    Owing to low wage cost, well trained labor, less public and private debt and most importantly healthier banking systems, central region economies are expected to grow better than western Regions.
    The most important question here is How does Central Europe influence intellectual life of the continent? In many ways, I reckon. Central Europe has undergone massive transformation and opperession. It has beat all the odds and has done exceptionally well and continues to rise.
    Currently, a lot of countries across Europe are in crisis. Southern Spain : Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Balkan regions: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo. Then there are Post Soviet regions such as Belarus and Ukraine. In my opinion, these regions can relate to the Central region and learn a lot from their progress.
    The best way for Central Europe to reinvigorate these regions can be done by facilitating trade and foreign investment. Make finance more resilient to crises by both welcoming foreign capital inflows and worrying about them. Improve the investment climate to make sure foreign capital makes the economy more efficient. Make workers more productive through freer enterprise and better education. Make governments solvent by borrowing only for the most-needed public investments. Make government spending more growth-oriented by providing social protection to only the most unfortunate, the old, and infirm countries of Central Europe can best reinvigorate the Europe by reinvigorating their own economies and spreading the waves across the region.

    Aleksander Czaplicki

    Sources:
    1. Central Europe fit for the future: 10 years after EU accession, text by: Milan Nic and Pawel Swieboda, Central European Policy Institute, http://www.cepolicy.org/publications/central-europe-fit-future-10-years-after-eu-accession
    2. What can countries in central Europe do for the European project? Complete the convergence, text by Indermit Gill, Naotaka Sugawara, http://www.voxeu.org/article/central-european-reforms-beacon
    3. Economic Reforms (Transition to a Market-Based Economy), European Comission, Development and Cooperation – EUROPEAID https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/multisite/etc/en/content/economic-reforms-transition-market-based-economy
    4. Central European Initiative Human Resources Development Forum, text by Ing. Vlastimil Outly, National Training Fund, Czech Republic, http://en.nvf.cz/central-european-initiative-human-resources-development-forum

  10. What can be the role of East Central Europe in relation to the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    In this essay I would like to answer the question on the role of east Central Europe on the European intellectual scene by analyzing first the history and the relations of this part of Europe with the rest of the continent. Than I would like to look at the changes and transformation this part of Europe underwent since 1989, and what this process meant for the rest of the continent. Than I would like to analyze the important role played by this part of Europe in coping with such concepts as democracy, the rule of law and more in general the so called European values. Then I will try to point out different scenarios about this part of Europe and what can be the role of East Central Europe in the future, and what it might do for Europe as a continent in the intellectual sphere.

    Throughout its history East Central Europe has gone through very different phases and it had different roles in different époques. It was the centre or Europe, or its periphery, it was made of empires, or it was divided and torn apart. But regardless of its economical or political status, East Central Europe was always a part of Europe when it came to the intellectual sphere and when taking into account values and identities. Even when East-Central Europe was destroyed by wars, or economically weakened and incapable of playing any role on the European political and diplomatic scene, its elites and its intellectuals always continued to play an important, sometimes decisive, role in shaping the European identity and in influencing its intellectual discourse. In order to understand our topic and to have more clear the purpose of this essay, we need first to define Europe, or at least try to find different definition in order to better understand what East-Central Europe is. At present a simplistic answer to this question might be found in the European Union. Especially since this organization underwent its enlargement after 2001, comprising most of the countries of East Central Europe, some see it not only as an organization, but also as the core of European values, and as the centre of its identity. This concept is of course not accepted by many, which still see the state as the most important political institution, and argue that there is no such thing as a European identity, but just local or national identities. Another issue can be found in the question whether Europe has natural borders, and cannot comprise nothing out of those borders, or if this borders can change and new and different states can be comprised into Europe. Or also another issue can be if the concept of Europe is related to some specific intellectual or religious values, or if it is open and to different ideas and identities. In many cases those discussions, which might seem very intellectualistic and with no connection to the reality and to the everyday life of European citizens, had a huge role in changes and influenced political and strategic decisions, that in some cases led to wars and the end of empires and states. Without going deep into the history of Europe, since the Middle Ages, through the Modern era and the Contemporary era, Europe was seen as something different and East Central Europe was playing a different role. In some cases it was the border of Europe and the last resistance against the “barbarians”, as in the cases of the Mongol invasions of the 12th century, or the battle under Vienna in which a Polish ruler, Sobieski, led an European army to victory against the Ottoman’s army, that had already conquered the Balkans and other parts of South-Eastern Europe and was about to conquer Vienna, one of the most important European cities of the time and at the hearth of it. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, there were no doubt that countries such as Poland, or lands which are now in Czech Republic or in Ukraine, were a part of Europe. During the Renaissance and after, the rulers and the elites of east Central Europe were educated in Padova, Bologna or Paris, were multilingual and every artist or intellectual had a truly European audience, especially if its work where in Latin. It is clearly shown that the connections and relations of the elites and of the intellectuals of the time were so important, that we need to arrive to the present time to find a similar interconnection between the different parts of Europe, with east central Europe at its center.

    A turning point in the history of East Central Europe was the fall of the Soviet Union and of the socialist regimes in Europe, and the end of the cold war. Since the end of the cold war the concepts of Western and Eastern Europe were no more just intellectual or philosophical categories on which academics and writers were debating, but a reality. As it was effectively described by Sir Winston Churchill in his famous speech at the Westminster College in Missouri in 1946, an “iron curtain has descended upon Europe”. From this moment on, Europe was divided into two parts, politically, military but not always intellectually. Until 1989 countries, such as Poland or East Germany, or regions, such as Bohemia or Galicia, which have been part of Central or East Central Europe for centuries, were in a different bloc, and were under the control of states which were satellites of the Soviet Union. But this political situation did not meant that those countries or regions felt all sudden not be parts of Europe. Also in the dark times of Stalinist purges and of post-war reconstruction, the intellectuals but also the people still felt a strong connection to the rest of the continent. This connection remained strong trough the whole cold war, as it was clear in the protest and the movements that were born in some of the socialist countries, such as the protest in Poland of , the Hungarian protests of 1956 and the so called Prague spring in 1968. The fall of the socialist regimes in East Central Europe can be connected to the rise of the different opposition movements in several of those countries, and especially in Poland, were the Solidarnosc movement comprised millions of workers, intellectuals and citizens.

    From 1989, the year in which the first semi-democratic elections were held in Poland, and in which the Berlin wall was tear down by Berliners, the values on which the new governments established their rules were the European values: tolerance, rule of law, democracy. At first this transformation was painful, and couldn’t be achieved without the collaboration of the other European countries, of the United States and of international organizations, such as the IMF and the World Bank. But 25 years later there is no question that all the countries of East Central Europe are part of Europe, and today Warsaw, Prague and Budapest are rich, developing and dynamic European capitals, not anymore the gray, static symbols of the Soviet imperialism in Europe. But what can be the role of those countries, and of this region in general, for Europe? There are several areas in which this region can be decisive, and should be central in the intellectual discourse over Europe, over its role and its values. The first role comes from its history and its geographical position. Being the border of Europe, it should play a decisive role in shaping the European policies and also in permitting a better dialogue with the different cultures and ethnicity which are present in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. A dialogue, not a clash as some politicians and academics define it, that has to be tolerant of differences but also built around the democratic values which are at the heart of the European political and intellectual life. Therefore East Central Europe should play a bigger role in opening Europe to a fructuous dialogue with all its neighbors, returning to its natural role of centre of Europe, and of border of Europe. A centre not in the sense that it should be the place where every decision is taken, but in the sense of being one the place where new ideas, practices and discourses are created. A border not in a divisive and clashing sense, but meaning the place where Europe meets the rest of the world, and where different ideas and cultures coexists. The main aim of citizens and intellectuals of this area should be to recreate that atmosphere and to permit to recreate the so called “MittelEuropa”. Cities like Wien, Prague, Warsaw, Trieste shall look at their history to give an example on how to manage differences and multiculturalism, and how to get the best out of it. Another field in which East Central Europe should have a decisive role is the field of ideas and values. Being new democracies, and having gained their independence only in the last 25 years, no one better than them can explain why democratic values and human rights are so important for every European citizen. In a time in which old nationalist and xenophobic slogans and ideas seems on the rise once again all over Europe, who should remind to the rest of Europe, and to the whole world what’s the importance of living in a democratic, independent and free state? Who better than the intellectuals, writers and artists who fought for their freedom of speech, and the workers and citizens who fought for their right to choose in free and fair elections their representatives and their destiny. Who better than the young generations, born after the fall of the socialist regimes, who can choose how to live their life, where to study, work and live can show what are the gains from living in a democratic, integrated Europe, in which respect of human life and human rights are cornerstone of the civic life, not just nice words wrote on papers
    .
    Therefore in my opinion the most important thing that can be brought by East Central Europe in the intellectual life of the whole continent is a new life to the European values. This does not mean just to repeat old slogans and to proclaim the respect of rule of law and human rights, but to bring new practices, new ideas and a new freshness to those values and concepts. In a world deeply changed by interconnection, globalization and new forms of media, all the countries of East Central Europe can, and should, play a central role in the intellectual field in order to make Europe a better place to live in, and to help all those countries and nations that are willing to undergo a similar path towards democratization. This should not be confined just to the intellectual field, but should drive the actions of the whole Europe, in every crisis, from Ukraine to the Middle East, in which Europeans have to take a stand, and not just cry for the respect of values and then turning their heads. Also in the discourse around what the state should mean, in a time in which autocratic and undemocratic regimes seems on the rise once again, and seems to be the more efficient and viable solution for the problems of developing countries, it should be the role and the duty of countries of East Central Europe to remind of the importance, but also of the efficiency and viability of democratic practices, of rules and norms made by the citizens and not by a despotic ruler or an elite just to fulfill some particular interests.

    In conclusion, according to me, East Central Europe should get a greater role in European affairs, and should remind to the rest of Europe of the importance of its values, and of the importance of fighting for those values, which are not granted by anyone but are the result of protracted struggles, and should be protected by every citizen.

    Daniele Maresca

  11. Central Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. In my essay I will write what Central Europe brought into the intellectual life of the whole continent. The Union of Lublin. which was in 1569 signed was an important chapter of European history. In work by Juliusz Bardach Od aktu w Krewie do Zaręczenia wzajemnego Narodów(From the Act of Krewo to the Mutual Pledge of Two Nation) it was showed that the Union od Lublin was more a process then a one-time political act. The European Union, on the other hand, is still in the initial phase of development. Any comparisons and analogies must be within the framework of comparative analysis of legal systems, institutions and procedures. The European Union consists of states with different political systems- parliamentary monarchies, republics, unitary and federal states- The Union of Lublin also united territories with various political systems. If we say about European Union, I think that really important program is Horizon 2020. It is the eight phase of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. The programme runs from 2014-2020 and provides an estimated €80 billion of funding. The programme consists of three main research areas and they are called Pillars. The first pillar ,,Excellent science” focuses on basic science. MSCA supports the career development and training of researches at all stages of their careers. ,,Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies”” (LEIT) is the second pillar. It consists of six sub-programmes: Information and communication technologies, Nanotechnologies, Advanced materials, Advanced manufacturing and processing, Biotechnology, Space. The third pillar, named ,, Societal challenges consist six- sub programmes too. Health; Food, water, forestry, bioeconomy, Energy, Transport, European Society, Security. After the experience of First World War, the Poles took great care of their national treasures, but soon they were to witness the looting and destruction of the Second World War. Protection of the cultural heritage has a long tradition in Poland’s cultural policy. Ukrainians fighting to protect their native culture were of the same mind about its scope. After 1917, as in Poland in 1918-1928, attention was focused on the historical and cultural heritage, a monument register was prepared, and the return of Ukrainian relics from Moscow and Saint Petersburg was demanded. The idea of protecting the legacy stimulated public interest again at the end of the 20th century. In Europe, cultural interaction has created products of two cultures, referred to as double culture. Many Western and Central European countries possess numerous monuments that for historical reasons originated as objects of double culture. This phenomenon has many explanations: migration by the creators and their works, similarity of artistic styles, invasion of weaker by stronger states, etc. Comparative study of the character of cultural and artistic values can reveal the boundaries of the common legacy and confirm the existence of a product that is culturally binary. This, for example, is how we view the work of Franciszek and Bruno Tep, Seweryn Obst and Jan Stanisławski. The notion of a common legacy evolves and travels in time and space. The common legacy of the Austro-Hungarian nations or of the Russian Empire should be considered in the context of the social, political and historical changes that led to the creation of many states. From Central Europe came a lot of writers. For example, there was a lot of excellent writers in Poland. Most Polish literature has been written in the Polish language. In the Romanticism has the polish literature especially developed. The Rise of Romanticism coincided with the loss od Poland’s independence at the end of 18th century, and great writers reflected the national tragedy in their poetry. A need to interpret their country’s destiny gave the work of three great Romantic poets- Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński- moral authority. Writing in exile, they kept alive their faith in the restoration of Polish independence, and their concern gave the literature of the Polish Romantic movement its strength and passion. Mickiewicz was the greatest polish poet and the leader of the Romantic period. He wrote works as Dziady or Pan Tadeusz. Besides, in Central Europe we have a lot of writers or scientists, who received Nobel prize. This is for example, Wisława Szymborska, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Jaroslav Seifert. In chemistry it was for example Marie Skłodowska-Curie. In Central Europe were built one of the first universities in the world. In 1364 it was built Jagiellonian University in Krakow or University in Pecz in Hungary in 1367. The University of Warsaw, Jagiellonian University or University in Budapest have the constant position and they have about 400 position in the world. I would like to write about others significant places in Central Europe. Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia. In this city we can meet three cultures: Slovak, Hungarian and German. In Bratislava we can go to the National Theatre. We can see the imposing monument to the leaders of the Slovakian uprising from the days of the Spring of the nations. Ludevit Stur, Jozef Hurban and Michal Miloslav Hodza stand on the plinth: the fathers of the modern Slovakian identity. Without exaggerating we can say that it is a special place, sacral, a place of cult. Such is the fate of Central Europe as told through the history of one place which has been invested with mythical significance. A place where kings and heroes representing different homelands and peoples appear, in reality, and in monuments. The Spring of the Nations played a decisive role in shaping national identity in Central Europe, especially in the area under the Habsburg monarchy, from the provinces of the Bochemian Crown through Galicia and the lands of St.Stephen’s Crown. By a curious coincidence, the heroes of one national pantheon are often counted by neighbouring nations as enemies. The national heroes of Central Europe often fought for the freedom and in dependence of their nations in opposite camps. The Croatian hero Josip Jellasic, whose statue stands in the very heart of Zagreb, crossed the border on the River Drava to overthrow the independent Hungarian government in the name of the Emperor. Slovakian insurgents led by Jozef Hurban took up arms only to protect Slovak language rights but also- it could not have been otherwise-against the authorities of the Kindgom of Hungary. Lajos Kossuth was and is a national hero to Hungarians. In the eyes of the Croats and Slovaks, this legendary leader of the Hungarian struggle for independence is a symbol of the Hungarian national movement’s ambitions for unification and Magyarisation. From the other side, the Hungarian side of the Danube and Drava, the leaders of the Slovakian and Croatian movements are seen as allies of Vienna who came to help throttle the Hungarian revolution. In Poland was rised the organization ,,Panorama Kultur”. This organization spreads the knowledge about European culture, especially the culture of Central Europe. It promotes the artists and cultural events from Central Europe. To sum up the Central Europe has a rich history and we have a lot of artists and achievements, which are reason to pride for us.

    References:
    1.Central Europe. A New Dimension of Heritage. International Cultural Centre,2003 2.The 1st Heritage Forum of Central Europe. International Cultural Centre,2012 3.horizon2020projects.com

    Anna Suchożebrska

  12. What can be the role of Central Europe in the exchange of ideas on the continent?

    Central Europe and the Middle East are mostly post-communist countries that are currently undergoing a number of institutional and political changes. Over the years their society (even in the case of Polish) have to deal with authoritarian sytemami Be among the ruling party. In my opinion, when it comes to the exchange of ideas and interaction between East and West Europe must take into account the specificity of the political culture. Why, together with Europe also cite the middle eastern? The answer does not seem to be simple, but if you look at the course of history we can discern many similarities, and we can expect similar future when it comes to these countries.

    Despite the fact that in Central Europe, we have a democracy, there is still a lack of civil society. Comparing this with the western part of the continent is a very large obstacle to the exchange of ideas on the European continent. In contrast, in Eastern Europe, we are dealing with non-consolidated democracy. Citing both problems, I would like to point out that it is difficult to reconcile with the western mentality eastern mentality which is known to be a very big obstacle.
    However, it was in Central Eastern dealing with demographic and młdonym flourishing society, in turn, when it comes to west is we have to do what he called Huntington „the twilight of the west”. I always found it difficult to reconcile the two worlds behind the Iron Curtain.

    Even if political culture is so different and so varied instytucjonalizmy sometimes both one side and the second should learn from each other, support each other, to seek dialogue and strive together to improve the life of society. A good example is the European Union which, in successive rozszeżeniami proves that ideas for new European continent is very much. So what is the role of central Europe in this regard? I think that first of all it brings a lot of new solutions as opposed to the traditionalist west. It should adopt new solutions in countries where democracy is considerably young. Definitely after 1989 most of the former communist countries in Europe breathed new hope for change in the political system. Focus of inflammation – a country which held the largest number of workers’ protests was definitely Polish. Unfortunately, the result of sudden changes and institutional – political countries of Central Europe had not yet stabilize civil society which is very large obstacle to democratic solutions. Mimo wszystko w skutek dialogu europejskiego możemy być świadkami rosnącego w potęgę kontynentu, który stanowiłby dobrego partnera dla pozostałych graczy na arenie międzynarodowej.

    First of all, Central Europe has yet to stabilize the status quo, which is difficult due to the transformation of the system (which I mentioned above). But you have to give her a chance to buy contributed to the further development of the situation on the continent, moreover, took an active part. It takes years, if not decades. Anyway, in any such distributions exchange of ideas on the European continent should take into account the young democracies, which may lead to a new vision of a united European continent. I am fascinated by some western solutions, but it would be useful to bring to them a new institutional and systemic solutions that could usher why Europe Central and eastern europe.

    (essay written based on European studies and my own thoughts)

  13. Tomasz Wilczyński

    What could be the role of the Central Europe in the exchange of ideas in the whole continent?

    As far as I am concerned, the most important path, for not only Central Europe, but also for the whole European Union, is economic, cultural and financial aid for member countries of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) with Russia as their leader.
    Even though, the belief that Russia could somehow become more similar to the Central Europe countries in the next century is rather groundless, countries like Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan could embrace the systems of norms and values, that are characteristic for Europeans. The important thing is to guide and help those countries, so that they could in time live up to the standards of UE and become its members. European counties should be very active during those processes. However, this issue does not seem so crucial for today’s world as it was in the 90s. The contemporary information implies that in the next six years, namely in 2020, a new version of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation’s agenda will be stated. Poland is one of the active members of this organization. In general, the Central Europe program’s main idea is:
    „cooperation, regardless of the borders, in order of making the cities and regions of Central Europe more convenient place to work and live in, through the usage of the intelligent solutions, which are the answers for the regions’ troubles concerning: innovation, low carbon economy, environment, culture and sport.”
    So to speak, this is a program which main purpose is to improve the quality of life of all the people from Central Europe. It is important to stress, that lately those countries have gained the position in the international arena, becoming more significant factors of political machine. Looking at this process, we can easily conclude that the same move would be also beneficial for the countires of former countries of Soviet Union in regard of their abovementioned structures. According to my opinion, the next beneficial idea is the is the creation of a real energy-related union in UE by the polish government. This idea was supported by Lithuania and to be more precise, by their minister Jaroslav Neverovič. The official sources imply that in the next week there will be an informal meeting of minister from the Departments of Energy in Athens, where they will discuss the details of this idea.
    To sum up, as we can notice, after the analysis of political magazines or TV news, the role of Central Europe is becoming more and more important and its main task will be to provide the less developed countries with a good example of how to optimize their own productivity. This is confirmed by the latest research conducted by Deloitte company. The results of this research suggest the more than 60% of the representatives of the private equity capital from Central Europe suspect the economic conditions to improve in the next half of century. Last autumn the results claimed that only 43% of representatives thought it will happen. This is the best result for the previous decade, meaning from the moment when eight countries joined the European Union.

  14. „What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?”
    by David Hellwig for “Poland Past and Future”

    With the peaceful revolutions of 1989, the world changed. The ideological conflict between communism/ autocracy and capitalism/ liberal democracy had been won by the latter, the Cold War was over. Many scholars discussed about different concepts of the New World Order, about concepts like the End of History, the Clash of Civilizations or the Breaking of Nations. But aside from these ideas on the global scale, the probably most important changes for the everyday life of the people occurred in the continent, where everything had begun – Central Europe.

    The concept of Central Europe became widely known in the early 20th century, with the publication of the book Mitteleuropa (Central Europe) by the German Member of Parliament Friedrich Naumann. In this book, which was published during World War I in 1915, Naumann argued for the foundation of a supranational organization as unification of the small European states. In that time, he saw the core of this institution in Germany, Austria and Hungary. With the developments at the eastern border of Germany after the lost wars, the re-establishment of Poland, the changing political situations after World War I and World War II and the core of today’s Central Europe shifted to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Together with Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and to a certain extend Germany, the baltic states, Switzerland and Croatia they form Central Europe.

    With enormous efforts after 1989, those regions developed and became the most dynamic economies of Europe. In the meantime, their political situation stabilized. Consequentially, with the enlargement of 2004, they became members of the European Union. The result of this enlargement is that the European Union as the main institution for the exchange of ideas of the intellectual life in Europe has now to deal with new cultural and historical backgrounds of its inhabitants. This becomes most obvious when looking to actual developments in the political sphere.

    Until a few months ago, most of the European politicians and journalists agreed on the thesis that France and Germany were the two major players in Europe; that they guaranteed for the stability of the political processes. Commentaries said that after the EU-enlargement of 2004, the Weimar Triangle – the institutionalized cooperation between the governments of France, Poland and Germany – had served its main purpose and therefore lost importance. That this thinking could not be more false came up to light with the actual crisis in Ukraine. It seemed that West-European politicians and journalists did not understand the fear of Russia among Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians. But, as it is no longer possible to pass over the perspective of the Central European people, the Polish government played an important role in integrating this perspective in the process of examining a solution for the crisis in Ukraine. First, the Weimar Triangle experienced its revival when the foreign ministers of France, Poland and Germany negotiated in Kiev on behalf of the European Union after the escalation of violence in February. Now (in June), the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany remain the major European players in the peace negotiations, as seen on June 10th during the peace talks in St. Petersburg.

    But this is nothing more than a shift in the power positions of the old Europe, even though it is necessary. The new Europe – a more democratic legitimated one with larger competences – will face the decrease of importance of national governments and national states. For the states of Central Europe, this development may be interpreted as loosing their sovereignty again, only some 25 years after gaining it back. Of course, we should argue against this interpretation. If we want to integrate this continent politically, culturally – intellectually, we have to approach each other. We have to develop a common understanding of Europe as a place that enables the freedom to develop – individually and all together. The different concepts on our continent of nationality, of security, of feeling threatened – like for instance the deeply rooted Polish romanticism – have to be understood and respected, but they should not be overrated. We shall work for a world in which people are not separated because of their nationality or any other arbitrary characteristics.

    If we decide to reduce the importance of nations – and I am definitely in favor of that – then it will be the task for all of us to organize a conversation among the people on this continent, to increase the intellectual life on the European level. The major role in this process will have to be played by Central Europeans, because they have experienced what it means to live in an autocracy, because they fought for freedom and liberty not long time ago, because their cultural background allows them to understand the old and the new Europe. The project of a common Europe will only be successful if Central Europeans support it.

    [4990 characters]

    References
    Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis in Ukraine [Online], http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/671350/publicationFile/190027/140221-UKR_Erklaerung.pdf [Accessed on 15.06.2014].
    Eurostat: Real GDP growth rate – volume [Online], http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tec00115 [Accessed on 13.06.2014].
    Meyer, Henry: Russia, Germany, Poland Meet After Progress in Kiev Peace Talks [Online], http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-10/russia-germany-poland-meet-after-progress-in-kiev-peace-talks.html [Accessed on 14.06.2014].
    Naumann, Friedrich & Meredith, Christabel Margaret Iles: Central Europe, New York, A. A. Knopf 1917
    Gross, Jan T.: Central Europe [Online], http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195117394.001.0001/acref-9780195117394-e-0112 [Accessed on 08.06.2014].
    Worldbank: Poland Overview [Online], http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/poland/overview [Accessed on 13.06.2014].

  15. What new in your opinion could bring
    Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Enlargement 2004 has changed Europe and its image cardinally. New partners of strong European economies have changed a lot under the influence of western values, which they accepted so eagerly. But integration influences not only Central European way of thinking, but also gradually changes west-european political views. Let us see how exactly Central Europe can contribute to the political and ideological thinking of the whole Europe.

    By the term “Central Europe” author understands here such countries as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. It is obvious that we can`t put all these countries under the same line, as each country has its own influence on intellectual development of Europe. And the fact that CE countries are fractured on sanctions issue against Russia only maintains diversity of intellectual ideas in the region. But doubtless there are some aspects which unite and determinate the specific character of these countries. First, sensibility to national identification issues and to some extent the problem of separated nations. Second, a tendency of involving major powers in matters of local significance. Third, unacceptable socialistic past along with identification Russia with USSR and identification itself with “european”. And, finally, Central Europe is doomed to feel an inevitable presence of Russia due to geopolitical and historical factors and communicate with it.

    Probably, among Central European countries Poland is the best example which reflects all these peculiarities as well as the best example of the country which has the most significant influence on geopolitical and to some extent ideological thinking of Europe. Poland being the main representative of Central Europe has a vision of its own role in modern Europe, which doubtless reflects national intellectual thinking of the country. There are some options for Poland`s role in Europe: the role of the protector in Eastern Europe; the role of one of the states, which shape foreign policy towards Russia; the role of the Central European leader; the role of promoter of such values as freedom and democracy; the role of the state, which shapes policy in energy security; the role of the mediator between Western Europe and Russia. As we may see they are all somehow connected to Russia.

    And that`s why, one of the most significant things they can contribute to west-european intellectual thinking is their knowledge about Russia, which they got because of the deep connection with this country in the past. And through this knowledge promote their own EU development ideas. Objectively, these countries have such knowledge, but it is necessary to mention that it is not fully objective because of some episodes in polish-russian relations in the past. Especially difficult issues of common history are division of Poland by Prussia, Austria and Russia in the end of 18th century, issues of the WWII, Katyn, and the tragedy of 2010 in Smolensk. Indeed, these moments of common history are not the best examples of good-neighborly relations. But interesting is the fact that there was a reconciliation in case of Germany and nowadays this country is not associated with Nazi Germany, while Russia is still seen as USSR successor and a big enemy of all post socialistic states of Central Europe. The same we can see in case of the massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, which now is almost forgotten by Poles fact.

    All these visions are shaped by one factor – “Russian” syndrome. One incident of recent years illustrates this phenomenon. In 2005 Russian company “Gazprom” started to build Baltic Sea gas pipeline. Warsaw as some other countries came out against the plan, fearing Moscow could cut gas deliveries to Poland in the future. Nevertheless pipeline was built, which caused further refusal of building a new pipeline through Poland by polish government in 2013. The project would be economically profitable for Poland as well because it would bring along an economic benefit to country from gas transit fees and strengthen energy security of consumers in Central Europe. But political disagreements and efforts to have revenge for Baltic Sea pipeline gained an advantage of economic interests.

    In the beginning of 90th CE countries chose between two ways of development – western and eastern, without the third road which would be special. Consequently, neither Poland nor any other country of CE can offer a real concept of EU development, but they have some original views on EU future, mostly it concerns security issues: energy security and military security. What concerns the issue of security here we may see two different approaches of western and eastern countries of EU. While for western states security is first of all an economic security, eastern states argue for hard security and for them it is still the number of armament what matters. But here we also may see differentiation among CE countries. Poland advocates such an approach more intensively than any other country of the region. It is especially counterintuitive in the age of overcurrent protection of Poland.

    To sum up, there are two ideas, which CE countries and especially Poland can contribute to European intellectual thinking: their knowledge about Russia and the other eastern countries and a kind of a new approach of security issue. But there is also one more important aspect which concerns all countries of CE. These states have always been pacifistic-oriented and advocated such values as freedom, equality, democracy and peace. Only by following this vector of development CE countries can really become full members of European community and promote their own ideas of development of the continent. That`s why it is important to pursue a policy of a real mediator between east and west and not to barrier from dialogue and cooperation by hard security policy and outdated perceptions of eastern neighbors.

  16. „What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?”

    The issues of Central Europe seem to be one of the main topics of public discussion for many years. In some public appearances as well as the daily conversation we often hear references to the wide history, culture and tradition of this special region. We could ask: why? The answer is very simple: Europe has a unique heritage.
    The intellectual life means an extensive experience in all areas of life. All the achievements in science, culture and technology contribute to the ongoing development. In the case of Central Europe, we can talk about something more, namely, the patriotism, sacrifice and unification.
    Primarily as a result, we can talk about the war and its broad consequences. Of course there were a lot of losses but we gained new countries, technologies, ideologies, social processes, political systems and finally the art which was extremely valuable. History has also shown that the solidarity is not limited to the situation inside the country. We can go back to the times of elections a first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI. This period is very important because from this moment all Catholic countries began to deeply observe Poland. The election of John Paul II as well as his death brought together the entire Polish nation and gave an example to follow for other countries.
    Nowadays, we have such strong support, (for example) for Ukraine. In the face of danger we are able to speak the same language and despite of all we can join forces.
    Secondly, we can boast of outstanding scholars and scientists. Numerous awards are an undeniable fact of the great achievements. List of Nobel laureates includes the names of Polish, Czech and Hungarian. This is not only a recognition but also an acknowledgment of skills. There are also people who did not receive The Nobel Prize but their influence was great. It refers to various of sociologists, psychologists, economists, who are often cited in schools or colleges. Most of people or students do not remember them by name but they have them in mind (inter alia Michał Kalecki, Jan Doležal or Slavoj Žižek). The continuous changes also make the constantly increasing number of scientists, their discoveries and publications which are admired all over the world. A new generation of scientists often analyze and returns to what has already been proven by their predecessors. This proves the extraordinary value of the existing achievements.
    It is also closely related to culture. Literature, painting, theater and music have brought a lot to the culture of the whole continent. It would seem that European art is focused exclusively on the South and West. In my opinion the Central Europe has a lot of great artists. These artists have a good reputation and fans all over the world, this is why some various exhibitions, plays and classical music concerts are enjoying so much success.
    As another example it is worth appeal to the religion. Poland certainly gives the example of steadfast, immovable faith in God and the other highest values. For people of my generation, it would seems that it is only thanks to the Polish Pope but many sources say that long before John Paul the religion has been the mainstay of most families. In these times we are witnessing the growing popularity of atheism. Why? Poland would appear to be too much influenced by the West. But nevertheless we can still celebrate in our family circle the most important events in the lives of Christians (like Christmas or Easter). More than that the grandparents are still trying to instill patriotism and love in their grandchildren’s life.
    To sum up I want to emphasize that the countries of Central Europe have a lot to offer.
    The experience that has been acquired over the centuries turned into a precious belongings which is used by the entire continent. The continuous development in any field makes fresh minds and does not give a sense of boredom. This all adds up to the intellectual life which is still growing day by day. I can be very proud of my country (Poland) which contributes to the continuous creation of a beautiful chapter in the life of whole Europe.

    Marta Huptas

  17. At the present time, when people talk about ,,Central Europe’’ they are thinking only about geographical name. But to tell the truth they don’t have right. To use correctly this definition we should remember about the whole past connected with this beautiful region. It’s the region lying between Eastern and Western Europe (had to face an enormous struggle to be independent and to have more freedom.) It is definitely a notion of greater importance, a set of values and a kind of symbol. Moreover, in my opinion it is a space where that set of values was constituted and from where, it influenced the entire Europe.
    Poland is a big part of Central Europe. We are in European Union and many other organizations. We are on the border with Western Europe. But not all countries of this region are in Europen Union. Their democracy level is often not so high and their economy is no very developed. That’s doesn’t means that this part of our continent can’t have influence on Western or Eastern Europe. I believed we can bring many important things into intellectual life of the whole continent.
    Last week showed how changes in 1989 affected the whole of Europe. The presence of the presidents of many countries reaffirmed our triumph. I was really happy that I could be on this day at the Castle Square and take part in this ceremonu. The high costs of holidays in Western Europe, make Central Europe more interesting. Every year, more people want to come here and visit Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw or Budapest. People want to know our culture, which is also very curious. Also many students from foreign countries come to Central Europe for Erazmus.
    In 2012 during the organization of Euro 2012 with Ukraine, we have shown that the championship may be organized in a strictly European way, maintaining regional accents. We tried to surprise and overcome orbiting negative opinion about people from Poland.
    From Central Europe come the greatest thinkers and artists: such as Kafka, Freud, Wittgenstein, Popper, Cioran, Hayek, Mahler, Chagall, Ionesco, Forman. Now we admire their works in museums around the world, and some books of these writers are in our homes. But not many people know that they were from Central Europe.
    I think in any other part of the world there is still such a small space like the multiplicity of national cultures, traditions, literature and languages. It was also, even quite recently, the cause of the tragedy: wars, genocide and ethnic cleansing (Volyn, Bosnia). But it is also the greatest wealth-called Central Europe. Past and contemporary writers and artists from this part of Europe write about the sources of our identity and roots of national and European civilization.
    History of economic transformation in Poland and Slovakia, may show that changes are needed. This could benefit both mired in crisis Spain, as well as corrupt Ukraine, which tends to detach itself from the influence of Russia. We should talk more about how better is life in Poland than 25 years ago and that it is also possible I other countries. Maybe some poor countries would not achieve it in 25 years but even if it will take more years it is worth it.
    In my opinion people all citizens of Europe should talk more about their history, to know another point of view or to know why this country choosed this way of changes after communism. The ideas of freedom in Central Europe, started by “velvet” revolutions and reinforced by heroic events in Ukraine, will be spread and I hope Ukraine will join European Union as soon as it will be possible.
    In conclusion, I don’t agree with the people, who say that those who live in Eastern Europe, are somehow significantly different, in their behavior or mentality, to people from Western Europe. There is no use in comparing people from different places. We all must be ourselves and we cannot forget about our identities, respect and tolerance. The future will show how Central Europe could work together to be stronger and to change stereotypes about the inhabitants of post-communist countries.

  18. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe
    into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    For centuries, Central and Eastern Europe have been perceived by the Western part of the continent as a peripheral area, extremely poor, once colonised by Western newcomers and unsuccesfully trying to catch up the economical backwardness. The Westerners have hardly admitted that the local nations had a great and rich cultural heritage, nor bothered to understand it properly. Even now, when European Union had admitted most of the Central European states [1] into its ranks
    The reflection on nations and states may be the first great topic that the Central Europeans ought to bring to a debate that would involve the entire continent. While Western Europe usually defines a nation as ‚all the citizens of a given state’, the Central European thought did not go in the same direction. In the epoch of Romanticism, when interest for national ideas was particularly vivid, any of the Central European ethnic group actually had an own state. Living in oppressive (Ottoman Empire, Russia) or relatively liberal empires (Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly after 1867), the new national intellectuals began to define nation as a group of individuals who shared the same language, history and culture – mainly folk art and oral literature, which soon became a source of inspiration for new national poets, imitating and transforming popular themes. After First World War, virtually every of the Central European nations eventually ended up with a state that was officially its own. But ‚nations’ defined as cultural, unitarian communities did not transfigurate into nations – communities of citizens. Interwar Central Europe saw rapid growth of nationalism of all kinds, in some cases – an aggressive chauvinism. Even the post-war Communist governments had to take into account national feelings and give up their original international rhetorics for a mixture of national and socialist slogans. Final fiasco of Central European communism made nationalists re-emerge as one of the leading political forces, which had as extreme concequences as Balkan ethnic cleansing and wars between post-Yugoslav states (not all of the nationalists went that far, though). Apart from this, Central European definition of a nation appears strikingly accurate, given the fact that none of the Western societies, proudly claiming that any foreigner may become a full-fledged citizen if only wishing so, is not free of nationalist feelings among the ‚ethnic’ citizens. Central Europeans are, therefore, entirely authorized to ask now, when Western intelectuals discuss immigration, assimilation and cultural coexistence problems, whether ‚ethnic nationalism’ is an immanent component of a human nature or a phenomenon that emerges under certain conditions (and, consequently, may weaken under other conditions); in what circumstances is a political system able to ensure a harmonious coexistence (or at least to limit the scope of ethnic conflicts) of nations, languages, cultures and religions, if liberal domestic policy is not a remedy for all the problems;

    Central Europe brings also fresh – and intimidating – questions into a worldwide debate on democracy. Are liberal and democratic values universal, is democracy a system that ought to be implemented in all the states, notwithstanding their individual histories and experiences? In the eighties, Central Europeans stood opposed to ‚real socialism’ and after 1989 firmly rejected their former leaders. They were fascinated by a mythical ‚West’ that was to bring not only freedom and civil liberties, but also economic prosperity. And, to many analysts’ surprise, it was the economic question that emerged the following years as the key problem. Certain societies (like Poland, Czech Republic) were eager to hand the power back to communist parties (obviously transformed into ‚modern socialdemocratic organisations’, but having in their ranks mainly experienced officials of the past regime), the others slipped into a violent nationalism (Balkan states). Finally, modern Hungary is an example that even in a country which experienced a bloody totalitarianism, there are not easy recipes to introduce a well-working democracy. Central Europeans have therefore the right and duty to ask the ‚old Europe’: does its liberal parliamentarianism model actually apply to peripheral states where people, over centuries, got to care about economic survival first and used to not having any political influence on decision imposed from above? And, if nothing better than democracy has been invented (having experience of dictatures of different ideological sort, Central Europeans would, still, undoubtedly agree), what’s to be done to make it work and not deteriorate, how to activate citizens and how to balance the economic demands and principles of liberal democracy (could they be ‚adjusted’ to peculiar conditions of different states)?

    Third great debate that the Central Europeans ought to initiate (or join and make it more prolific) concerns the role of religion in public life of a democratic state. Religious leaders of different denominations played a crucial role in Central European nation development, and in some cases (Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia) one could once hardly imagine a member of a given nation who at the same time was not an active member of a majoritarian, traditional religious community. Nevertheless, Western analysts were quite sure that the Central European countries, once freed of communism and entering again the way to ‚catch up with the West’, would imitate the laicity principles originating from France. This hardly happened; further development of these states showed that an individual experience prevailed over any models to follow (despite all the enthusiasm for Westernization). If Czech Republic became almost an ‚atheist state’, Poland and Croatia did not lose its strong Roman Catholic communities, with significant political influence in the first case. At the same time, Western states who believed to have closed their own religious debates see them reemerge with the influx of immigrants, particularly Muslims. So, Central Europeans may bring the following questions to the intellectual debate: should a liberal and laique democracy force believing citizens to hide their feelings, once in a public space? How to overcome a mutual mistrust between strong believers (of different faiths) and advocates of liberal liberties? Under what conditions religious fundamentalism develops, and have the state institutions any practical influence over that process?

    [1] In this essay, Central Europe ought to be understood as the following countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.

  19. Central Europe – it is not certain geographical evidence, it has no natural boundaries – the seas, large rivers or mountain ranges separating the region from the western, eastern and southern neighbors (the only exception – the north, where the natural boundary of Central Europe is the Baltic coast). But there are a number of historical events and processes to imagine Central Europe, to isolate it from the European mosaic.
    Here is the fair notice of Czech historian Vlnas Wit about it:
    „… In few places on the same territory, half a dozen different regimes, legitimacy of which was based on the denial of the predecessor, were replacing each other during less than a century.”[1]

    In its present form, after ethnic cleansing, arranged in the middle of the last century by the Nazis and continued by Communists, after forty years of failed unification within the socialist camp, after the beginning of a new, non-violent (and perhaps therefore more efficient) integration within the European Union – after all that Central Europe is mainly a space of common memories. These are memories of the former state-political unity and ethnic and cultural diversity.
    These memories, however, have its visible and tangible continuation, such as the similarity of architectural styles of the former Austro-Hungarian cities, from Prague to Lviv and from Ljubljana to Chernivtsi.
    In fact, „legalization” of the concept of Central Europe took place after the wave of „velvet” (and not „velvet”, if you remember Romania) revolutions finishing with socialist camp in the late 1980s, as everybody thought at that time. It became clear that the post-communist transformation in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary was going faster and bringing more positive results than similar processes in the former Soviet Union (except the Baltic states), not to mention the Balkans covered by ethnic conflicts.
    But as it turned out, the snake of the Soviet Union was not then, unfortunately, crushed until the end, this is a long process, which continues today (through events in Ukraine) and will continue further.
    Currently, the most accurate answer to the question „What is Central Europe?” or „Who are the Central European nations?” sounds like this: „Those who have joined the European Union in 2004”. That is, as before, this region is better and is most easily defined by what happens to him.
    The „old” Europeans and, in principle, the whole world are only now beginning to recognize the Central Europe. Only now this region will have an opportunity to show its full potential. And this potential is huge. Original peoples live here with their unique traditions, ideas, value systems, which are capable to surprise the whole world with their heroism and persistence in achieving their goals, as it is currently happening in Ukraine.
    After all, before, nobody of us ever expected for such acts, from our fellow countrymen, in principle.
    Nobody expected for such heroism, such strength of spirit, which are now shocking. The bravest started, and then it was like a chain reaction, everyone was looking at the courage of others and himself burnt with this courage and the idea of freedom. And by the same way, this courage and these ideas eventually will spread across the continent in those countries where there is no real freedom, which are ruled by power regimes – from Belarus, Russia to China and North Korea.
    Exactly these ideas of freedom are frightening Putin. After all, with Ukrainian ideas it already began the destruction of his empire, which he built on the remains of the Soviet Union snake. That’s why he throws all of his powers to crush us, although he will not succeed. Ukraine has already risen from her knees and is not going back. By the same way, other nations across the whole continent will rise, where, the ideas of freedom in Central Europe, started by “velvet” revolutions and reinforced by heroic events in Ukraine, will spread.
    References:
    [1] VlnasV.Proměny Františka Josefa I// Týden. 2006. Č. 48. S. 45.

  20. Karolina Działowska

    What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Central Europe, or in the other words Middle Europe, is an area of the European continent located in between the region of Eastern and Western Europe. After the Cold War, Europe became the topic of interest and became politically divided into East and West, parting Central Europe in half. Since the year of 2000, Central Europe had been over passing phase of “strategic awakening”, with the activities like Central European Initiative (CEI), or Visegrad Group (V4). The economy of the area shows high odds regarding the income, all countries of Central Europe are noted by the Human Development Index, as a high development countries.

    Central Europe is also one of the areas in the continent where are the biggest numbers of births. It contains countries with the various size, like France or Czech Republic. There are about 165 million people in the Central Europe, counting all countries together.

    Central European countries have shown throughout the years that they are able to cooperate together and to avoid embarrassing disputes. Though this agreement may not last forever, because of the historical resentments and some minority problems.

    In my opinion Central Europe can bring a lot of new things into the intellectual life of the whole continent. For starters, the Weimar Triangle- it is the organization that was called by three Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland. The group was formed to support the operation between those three countries. Every once in a while heads of Germany, France and Poland are meeting in the cities of each country and at the meeting of the Weimar Triangle there are discussed such things as hard situation in Egypt or how to improve relations with Russia.

    Another organization that I have mentioned before is the Visegrad Group (V4), that is an informal group of four countries of Central Europe, which are Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, which aims at the closer cooperation with those countries. Especially in the case of joining to the European Union and NATO.

    There is also the educational reform that was adopted in the year of 2009. Its purpose was to bring six year olds to schools and by doing that taking the levels of education from another European countries. In the middle schools teachers started to preparing children to high schools, and not like it was before- treated middle schools like it was the same as elementary school. In the middle schools kids could choose in which class they wanted to be, either in the technical class or the art class. And each student had to take 30 hours of those classes per year. As far as the education goes, there were also changes in high schools. Profiled classes that students could choose, for example the mathematics profile or biological profile were created because of a need to educate a group of people that will be good in what they are doing. Because not everyone is very good in every domain. It all allows students who finish high school get the job faster and already work for the retirement. Also the new subjects of the studies had been created, which are able to educate students to the new created professions for example life trainers. Overall, the western standards are taking over the schools.

    For the intellectual life of the whole continent the students exchanges are working very well. Students from for example Poland or Czech Republic are going abroad to the countries such as Spain, Portugal or United Kingdom and they are living there for a half the year or the whole year, study at the local universities or colleges and they are getting the experience of learning a foreign language and living abroad. And it is the same way for Spanish students or Portuguese students, they come for example to Poland to study here for a year, away from their homes.

    To sum up, I think that Europe brought a lot to the intellectual life of Central Europe, and Central Europe pays back to the continent with the same thing. And because of the fact that Middle Europe is still evolving, in my opinion it can bring to the continent much more that well educated people and building peace between the countries. It may be a start of a whole new period of the European’s life.

  21. What new could Central Europe bring in the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    What’s the future of Europe and what is Reality in general? In my opinion, intercultural communication deals with what happens when people from different cultures, including religions, come together to communicate, interact, and even negotiate with each other. Individuals each carry around some different version of „reality” or culture in their heads, based on socialization (or learning) by the different agents or institutions of socialization in their culture, including religion, and based on different individual and collective life experiences. This worldview provides a sense of values and meaning about life. The way that this reality is known is through one’s perceptions of it. Unfortunately, perceptions based on evidence from one or more of the five senses are often distorted. Individuals also selectively perceive ideas and information, often accepting information which fits with their preconceived worldview and blocking out information which challenges that worldview–a worldview that they have spent a whole life time putting together.

    It is often the case that in everyday interactions individuals, even from the same culture, can misperceive each other. When they come from totally different cultures, including different religious traditions and belief systems, the danger is even greater. It is thus a basic tenet of intercultural communication that „The message sent is often not the message received” It is understandable that individuals tend to expect others to behave the way they would in a given situation or say what they would say in that same situation. When they do not, there is a strong tendency to interpret the motivation or meaning behind the behavior of the other person in terms of what that behavior would mean in one’s own culture rather than in terms of what that behavior actually means in the other person’s culture, since the other’s culture is not really understood. The next step can involve taking a mistaken interpretation of the other person’s behavior and then evaluating or judging that behavior, often negatively. This process thus involves moving from a simple factual description of the behavior of someone from another culture, to an interpretation of the meaning of that behavior (often a misinterpretation, based on what that behavior would mean in the individual’s own culture, not in the other person’s culture.) A final step in this model involves a move to evaluation or judgment of that behavior, as good or bad, in turn often based on an incorrect interpretation. This description, interpretation, and evaluation sequence of events, which individuals do quite often without even realizing they are doing it, is often called DIE for short.

    A related theory is Attribution Theory, which hypothesizes that individuals attribute meaning to the behavior of someone from another culture, often based on what it would mean in their own culture, rather than in the context of the other person’s culture or religion. As long as an individual remains uninformed about another person’s culture or religion, that individual remains vulnerable to repeating this problem over and over in their intercultural and inter-religious interactions. One important component of a solution to this problem is to become better informed about another person’s culture and religion so that it is at least possible to interpret another’s behavior and words in the proper cultural and religious context within which they occur. Such a strategy will also contribute to an appreciation of the rich cultural and religious diversity that exists in this world and help to counteract the tendencies to judge other’s actions and words incorrectly and negatively.

    In terms of conflict resolution, it can be argued that if an individual is not conscious of their own cultural or religious socialization or programming–which influences people to a much greater extent than most individuals realize, then their behavior will in many ways be preconditioned, and on automatic pilot: they will be acting out their cultural or religious programming, without being conscious that there are other cultures or religions or ways of experiencing reality. If an individual begins to become conscious of their own cultural or religious programming, often by exposing themselves to other cultures or religions, then they can for the first time come back to their own original culture or religion and begin to see it for the first time, since they now have some basis with which to compare it. Such an individual can begin to act consciously in the world and start to appreciate the rich diversity of the human experience, including the many different outward forms, rituals, and beliefs that have emerged in different religions as human beings have sought different paths for bringing a spiritual force into their lives.

    To my mind, a central problem in intercultural communication, including interactions between peoples from different world religions, is to confuse the map (one’s own particular version of culture or religion) with the territory (an ultimate experience of „Reality” or „God” or „Spirit,” as opposed to the relative or limited experiences of daily life). Becoming conscious of being socialized into different religions and cultures, coupled with an awareness that individuals as a consequence carry around different versions or maps of „reality” in their heads, can contribute to becoming more tolerant of the different maps or versions of reality that others also carry around in their heads, while also recognizing that something much more basic and essential underlies all the apparent outer diversity.

    I suppose, everything bases on evolution and development. So, as a Belarusian, I’d like to write some facts about my country’s story of evolution to show the situation in more critical bright way.

    During the period under review (1990-2008), there was a definite evolution in the content and formulations of the russo-centrist project, which took place due to both internal development and changes in the socio-political situation in Belarus.
    The early 1990s were characterized by an acute painful reaction to the dis- integration of the USSR, which was accompanied by rejection of the newly formed Belarusian state, acute antipathy to the authorities which were con- sidered as realizing the interests of the BNF (Belarusian Popular Front). At that time, one of the most important problems was the Russian language issue: “In Belarus, in the result of the activities of nationalists and led by the nose executive government structures, an unnatural situation was formed, when the Russian language – the language of the indigenous nation, spoken and thought in by most of the citizens of the Republic – is placed outside the law.

    A requirement for restoration of a unified state with Russia can be consid- ered another main line in the journalism of that period. Despite the fact that the very idea of a “union state” is central for the project of russo-centrism, it was formulated in different ways. If in 1991-1992 the Soviet Union was declared an ideal form of government for coexistence of the Russian and Belarusian peoples, then in subsequent years we are talking about creation of a unified state of Russia and Belarus. And in the early years of existence of the independent Belarusian state, this project appealed rather to elimination of this “strange” state formation: “In such a situation it is better to hand over our destiny to Great Russia”

    Since the beginning of Lukashenka’s presidency, a gradual conversion to the complete loyalty to the government from the representatives of the rus- so-centrist project takes place, although it is clear that up to 1995 they had been still looking narrowly at him. But Lukašenka’s practical implementa- tion of the main demands vital for russo-centrism – making Russian a state language, creating a union state with Russia (albeit, not in as radical a form that russo-centrists were dreaming about), constant symbolic appeals to the Russian culture and Russian people – have naturally attracted the sympathies of russo-centrists to him.

    Since that time, this political project of nation has been actively supported by the new President of the Republic of Belarus, which continues to the present day.
    But such an “overloyalty” position towards Lukashenka’s policy has led to some changes of the ideological requirements. Exactly the idea of an alliance with Rus- sia underwent the most significant transformations. The initial slogan of a simple return to Russia was clearly irrelevant in the light of the independent policy held by the Belarusian state. So, it was necessary to look for some other solutions for achieving the objective of restoring a unified state with the Russian people. From around 1997-1998, much more cautious plans on creating a union state began to be pronounced, lacking their initial enthusiasm.

    The new thing about the research is that the biggest group of respondents – 30,9% – does not want to see Belarus involved in any integration processes at all. 23,3 % Belarusians stand for integration with Russia. This is more than for joining the EU. But despite state propaganda the level of pro-Russian orientation keeps going down. Primarily because the Russian integration supporters are the people who lived most of their lives in the Soviet Union, and their number in the society is gradually decreasing in a natural way. 20,0 % want integration with both Russia and the EU and see Belarus as a sort of a bridge between the East and the West.

    The European Union has an unbelievable Soft Power in Belarus, it stands steadily even under the influence of the external conditions. The Belarusian authorities keep silence about the European projects while Brussels put little effort into conveying this information directly to Belarusians.

    To open the situation more widely, I’d like to show some facts connected with Belarusian cultural, what means intellectual life. The break-up of the Soviet Union triggered the active process of liberation from the aesthetics of the Soviet art both in Belarusian theater and in other spheres of culture. Plays of previously banned authors like, for instance, Frantsishak Alyakhnovich (repressed in the 1930s) got on stage. New performances were born that provoked interest both in Belarus and abroad. The previously banned play The Locals by Yanka Kupala, staged by Nikolai Pinigin, was a significant event in the life of Belarusian theatre.

    In the ‘80s and ‘90s, several projects in experimental studio theaters, totally different by form and content, came to light. Slava Inozemcev’s InZhest Theatre emerged along with Rid Talipov’s intellectual theater and Vitaly Barkovsky’s postmodernist project.

    In the ‘90s the Western European intellectual drama became popular in Belarus. For instance, the director of the freshly emerged Belarusian state youth theater Vitali Kotovitsky staked on the literature of that kind. His theater’s repertoire included plays by Jean-Paul Sartre, Slawomir Mrozek, Eugène Ionesco and others. At the same time, other theaters were searching for the best project of the national theater that would “arouse the nation.” Thus, at the end of the last millennium, Belarusian theater had some potential and was a multi-level phenomenon for a diverse target audience.

    The new theatrical generation does not want to tolerate the homogenous directions that they get from the officials despite the general monotonous situation in Belarusian theaters and the lack of interest on the part of young specialists (the case of Ekaterina Averkova is rather an exception). Due to the availability of information and freedom of movement, the new generation of playwrights, directors and actors not only talk about the necessity to upgrade Belarusian theater, but make some clear steps.
    The audience is the first victim of the existing theatrical monotony. It has to select from amongst entertaining and “Belarusian” theaters. This is a vivid example of how Belarusian ideology works: intellectual, reasonable and provocative theater has no place here. On one hand, of course, current circumstances hinder the development of Belarusian theater. On the other, they inspire the new generation of theater workers, who have no hopes for state support and try to work autonomously. This allows to hope that Belarusian theater will soon get to the next stage of its development.

    So what are the key elements of the Central European thought-style? First, there is certain preference for religious metaphors, rather than, scientific ones. Central Europeans like to rely on aestheticising non-aesthetic phenomena. They have a certain fear of being forever marginal, of not being actors in history, of not having recognition on equal terms and of their own disappearance. Community and ethnicity tend to be seen as one, there is an ethnic path-dependence and the denial of this. Finally, the religion is haunted by its own sense of indeterminacy, of not having choice, and of being disregarded.

    References:

    1. Contemporary Belarusian theater’s struggle for diversity – en.kulturaenter.pl
    2. „POLITICAL IDEAS. RUSSO-CENTRISM AS AN IDEOLOGICAL PROJECT OF BELARUSIAN IDENTITY ” Aliaksiej Lastoŭski. © Institute of Political Studies Political Sphere © Vytautas Magnus University BELARUSIAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW #1 (2011)
    3. „Reading Central Europe: Defininf a Thougt-Style” George Schöpflin, Jean Monnet Professor of Politics, UCL-SSEES.
    4. „SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, CULTURE, AND PEACE:
    EXPLORING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR INNER-OUTER PEACE
    IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY” Linda Groff, Paul Smoker – http://www.gmu.edu/

  22. Countries of the Central Europe de facto were occupied by Soviets a little time ago. These countries achieved the freedom and democracy by the bloody way. Society has a recent memory about these efforts. The generation of people who understand and appreciate values as such still lives.
    I have conservative views, and for me it is tragedy to observe Europe’s convulsions. All last time it is leaping, it is kicked by left political forces to unnatural swerves from the one side, and on the other hand ultra right parties are becoming abruptly much more popular, parties that also really do not have any values as a foundation (example: the recent victory of Front National in the election to European Parliament. Leader of this party Marine Le Pen accepts an annexation of Crimea. She explained it by the right of people to decide and elect). Regarding to Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi approximately 100 thousand people are murdered every year for its faith, just because they declared to be Christian. Instead of struggling and making efforts to protect human rights throughout the world we hear sometimes that somewhere in France of Great Britain bringing of crosses is forbidden in schools and etc.
    The Central Europe is much more conservative region than Western one. Exception here could be Czech Republic, but they struggle to identify itself as a West European country. Society of Central European countries respect traditional values, elites also think in these categories. In my opinion, Central Europe could rescue our civilization, could help Europe to change itself, correct views on life. Central Europe could help whole continent to return itself into Christian sources. Nowadays Europe has to be strong and monolithic. Europe has a potential to change our world for the better, but unfortunately, Europe just does not think about it.
    In fact there are huge problems with China, Russia and North Korea. Today as never since the moment of collapse of Soviet Union the system of the international security is threatened. A few months ago thesis about reinstalling of borders in Europe seemed crazily and funny, but today Russian occupation of Crimea is a fact, as well as United Kingdom and USA did not provide territorial integrity of Ukraine. Thesis of Budapest memorandum was de facto refused, it means that nowadays nobody is sure for its national security, and nobody wants to get rid of nuclear weapon because in fact no other warranty exists.
    But against the background of current situation we could observe not understandable actions of West European countries, especially France, which is going to sell to Russia a couple of mistral ships. They are not shy to have business with Putin in the same time when hundreds of Ukrainians were murdered by Russian or pro-Russian forces, firstly on the Maidan, and now – in the war in the Eastern part of Ukraine.
    The Central Europe as a recent victim of eastern despotism could much more deeply understand and realize specifics of Russia, realize problems that are appearing because of imperial Russian mentality. Exactly intellectual elites of Central European countries have a duty to bring to Western Europe this understanding of the Kremlin’s way of thinking and realizing all the danger concerning Kremlin’s politics. Representatives of nations which fought for freedom just 25-30 years ago understand importance of the international solidarity much more than people which just read about it in stories.
    I think the Central Europe could bring new view of whole continent on another world. As I said Europe has many capabilities. World has big problems and they need to be solved. For instance Africa is seized by tragedy, somewhere people die because of lack of food and water. Of course, it is possible to accuse them for their misfortune as we often behave ourselves with beggars in the street, but I think that civilized world could not name itself as such if it is quietly observing tortures and even does not struggle to help them. Indeed economically strong part of the world could seriously care the African continent. I do not mean just giving them some products and money, but investing and support them in construction of economic system that could provide at least minimal human needs. Possibly, a couple of historical complexes hinder to Western countries and they are afraid to be again considered as occupants and slaveholders. Well, Central Europe doesn’t have these troubles, may be Central Europe can lead continent in fighting against inhumanity and calamity.
    Society exists until it has some important common purpose. Lack of such type of purpose transforms society into community of people who just waste their opportunities. In my opinion intellectual elites of Central Europe have these purposes and intentions of the world scale. Central Europe has to bring these ideas for entire continent, reanimate Europe and give it sense of life!

  23. Topic: What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Before proceeding to the concrete examples on how Central Europe could contribute to the development of the intellectual life of whole Europe I would like to briefly dwell on another issue, mainly the definition of Central Europe, which seems to be a starting point in discussing the problem. According to a British historian, Robin Okey, the division of Europe is visible already on a linguistic surface, not to mention the geographical and political aspects:

    “the German term Mitteleuropa has entered the historical vocabulary of other European peoples. But wheres the linguistic border between the German and the Romance speech is the most stable in Europe, that between German and Slav is the most fluid. It is thus the central/eastern divide which has become the most important of all European regional relationships, behind which lies the fraught encounter of the powerful German nation with its Slav, Magyar and Baltic neighbours (1992:102).”

    There are probably almost as many definitions of Central Europe as the number of scholars who research into the problem. Jerzy Kłoczowski presents a number of these theories in his article „Actualité des grandes traditions de la cohabitation et du dialogue des cultures en Europe du Centre”. However, in this paper I will stick to the European Union’s definition; its programme called “Central Europe” includes the following countries: Austria, Czech Republic, eastern and southern Germany, Hungary, northern Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and western Ukraine.

    But what could Central Europe bring to the intellectual life of whole Europe? The response to this question is (at least to me) straightforward and inspired by the latest celebrations. Year 2014, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Autumn of Nations (in which some countries from Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany were involved), prompts to think about the meaning of the revolutionary events from the 1989. BBC Diplomatic Editor Brian Hanrahan called that year “the year which reshaped the world”. What message for the rest of Europe is hidden behind these events? In my opinion it is the statement of great power and will of change – characteristics which make up the undeniable potential of Central Europe, thus either creating a great deal of possibilities or posing a threat to the rest of European countries.

    Another area of great value are young people. This talented, inquisitive and success-oriented group which is about to replace the current workforce has undoubtedly much to offer. One of the examples could be an invention of a Polish 18-year-old student: he created a watch for the elderly (Wanted Clock), especially for those who suffer from Alzheimer or other memory disorders. The watch enables the lost person’s relatives to locate him or her, it can also remind one of a drug dose. I am bringing up this issue in order to shed a light on a terrible situation concerning conducting various studies. It should be emphasized that many young scholars rely only on their own financial resources while creating something what contributes to bringing glory to their countries.

    Furthermore, Central Europe steadily becomes an attractive place for investments; a fact that cannot be passed unobserved by other European countries. According to Reuters “the Czech economy expanded at its fastest pace in six years and Hungary’s at its fastest in seven years at the end of 2013 as a pickup in trade with the euro zone and stronger investments boosted recovery in central Europe”, what is more “the Polish economy, the region’s biggest and the only one to avoid recession since the 2008-09 global crisis, grew 2.7 percent year-on-year, a touch slower than expected but up from 1.9 percent in the third quarter.“ All the aboved mentioned proves that the economies of these countries could be a very interesting subject of research (not only due to its‘ success but also to the communist past).

    Summarizing, Central Europe can bring much to the intellectual life of whole Europe – the up-to-date topic of year 1989, gifted youth and thriving economy; not to mention establishing the notion Central Europe itself!

    References:
    1. Okey, R. (1992). Central Europe/Eastern Europe: Behind the Definitions. Past & Present, 137:102-133.
    2. Kłoczowski, J. (2004). Actualité des grandes traditions de la cohabitation et du dialogue des cultures en Europe du Centre-Est, in: L’héritage historique de la Res Publica de Plusieurs Nations. Lublin. ISBN 83-85854-82-7.

  24. After the end of World War II, the main challenge that has become Europe, was widely understood reconstruction – mainly economic, but also political. Reconstruction required a sense of security of the individual citizen and the whole country. It was important to a sense of Community. The circumstances were dramatic, but the European Communities have developed successful methods of cooperation. Numerous treaties, the development of the institutional system, as well as progressive enlargement process, all that has established legal position – political European Community and the European Union in 1993. State economic gains from cooperation, benefit and are willing to give more and more powers to the supranational organization. Year 2010 – a difficult time for the EU and its achievements built over the years. The financial crisis showed, who really believes in the idea of EU action and „gave” the weakness of the arguments of all eurosceptics. Another year, another extension of the organization shows that the EU is still attractive to European countries.
    In times of war Europe task was to build a sense of security, by building the European community. Today’s challenge Europe is taking care of their most valuable asset – human capital. Caring for the development of societies, giving them chances and opportunities and the right conditions. This concern for the space in which they live. Who else would have to do it, if not the EU – the heart of Europe today?
    I used to think, what’s new, what else could the EU do for us, we think: youth, innovation, opportunity, business, development studies, taking care of the environment. And after a while we realize that all this is done at this moment. Perspective 2014 – 2020, is to collect all the desires of Europeans and develop them in this particular financial perspective.
    Today’s time undoubtedly belongs to the young, beautiful and talented! Opportunities that Europe now gives us – students, students of all ages is very large. Just look at the old elementary schools, which are very well equipped, newly renovated with a beautiful pitch. Online students have the Erasmus + – thanks to him, for example, I can explore, learn and mobility. To know the world and still give me the money for it! Erasmus + is an opportunity for students, but also for universities and their employees, who can improve their competence through learning new teaching methods.
    Another area that cares about the EU labor market, development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which also has a relationship with the young people, but also with older people. It is worth noting that today we have a lot bigger, a real chance to open your own business than ever before, thanks to EU funds. Just take a „first million” – Forbes and read about the many people who have benefited from this opportunity today, build your brand on the market. We can not forget about the numerous training courses for people 50 +, through which they can complement the knowledge, or to retrain and acquire a new profession, a new way to look at your life. There is nothing more precious to a person unless at any age, than aware that I need, I know what I will do tomorrow, or next week. However, you can see a lynx in the image, because when compared to the situation – the life of the elderly in Poland and those living in other European countries, I feel that this area has been „lost” among other important activities. I can not fault that here nothing happens, but what you do is not enough. There are various campaigns about the treatment of the elderly, about how it should look perfect retirement home are repairs, but what more? I miss the specific instruments – tools that will specifically support older people and / or their carers in their tasks, without filling several pages of documents. What is needed is the introduction of new methods of assistance to those who will activate them, and not build them passive attitude, such as volunteering among older people. It is necessary to move away from the beaten scheme of construction of houses of old age, allowing yourself some freedom and a little bit of freshness – such as houses with gardens.
    Prospects for EU – tasks – priorities – grants in this text has already been mentioned about them. They are designed for foundations, corporations and individuals, for businesses, for large entities. Why is it that there is no pot of money for individual units, for me, for you? Sounds strange, is not it? What if, however, you have a shop and you only need a few tools to be able to develop your work or hobby? Or maybe you want to develop your skills, but do not have the right equipment – computer, cooking, cycling? Such a solution would allow for the realization of individual desires and at the same time to their dreams come true!
    We realize that the EU as an international organization has a big part in many campaigns, and international actions that are designed to combat social exclusion, supporting people from third world countries. It is also an attempt to combat diseases such as AIDS, cancer promoting prevention. These are really important issues that often affect the attitudes of Europeans – the attitudes of citizens of each country. I can not measure the awareness of European ideas, but I hope that aware of this matter and that the next campaign, not only after that, „because it falls”.
    Investing in intellectual life, is investing in the human: the young and the old. It’s giving him opportunities, possibilities and conditions to be able to develop. Our task is only a skillful use of the „rod” that gives us a Europe without waiting for the „fish”.

    Agnieszka Pikosz

  25. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    There is one important fact in all over the World. The fact is that if you would like to be the center of something, you need to do the best or you need to do something different which has not done before.
    While you do those things, unfortunately you need to survive with financial issues.

    As far as all of you know, nowadays everything is going around only money. That is why if you do something which does not bring you money, most of the time it is worthless for other people. Unfortunately, when we try to do some art, we have negative reactions from the people who are in our environment. Maybe not all the time, but their first reaction is „why you are doing this? You will get nothing or do not be crazy do something which will bring you some money”. When the situation is like this, you can not even create a intellectual life so, how can you be center of nothing. So my opinion is first we need to create some attractive points for intellectual life then try to become the center of it. How to make it attractive? That is the biggest issue. The first thing is as I mentioned, try to be the best. Collect the best art products in the Central Europa then start to invite people to see them. The same procedure for music. Invite the best musicians to the Central Europa, by doing this of course you will have some majority because of their funs. After those things now you have an intellectual life in Central Europa. People have herd psychology, next thing is the using this weakness point. How? You need to advertise it well and when people see that some people are going to one place and there is huge majority they will wonder about what is going on there. So, they will want to see it also. When they do first step into place I am sure that most of them will like it and they will regret what they have been thinking about art. You can start to do it in only one place first as a carnival then you can spread it into Central Europa and you can create more carnivals about intellectual life. Second thing is that you need to something different. For example, you can choose one city and you can create a special area there then you can invite all European people to that place to try to create some art. It should not be matter that if they are amateur or professional. You should offer them if they are doing the best thing, they will be awarded (money can be good start point). Or you can offer them, if they win it their photo will be in that place forever. As you know many people would like to be shown to the people. It makes people proud of themselves. But as I said If you say that the award will be money it will be more attractive because people like doing something which brings money. When you are successful for that then you ( Central Europa ) can lead the whole continent. After then people will not talk about only the architecture which you have in your place, they will start to talk about also how intellectual life you have over there. Then it is obvious that all Central European people will be interested in intellectual life. For example, let’s talk about Tango Argentino, When people start to call Argentino as a tango place, all their public people start to dance tango. Because they are proud of that people announce them as a center of tango. That is why they feel like they have to learn it and dance. Nowadays many people who wants to learn tango, they dream about only Buenos Aires. Many of them are going there to learn it or to feel the atmosphere. How Buenos Aires became successful for this? They did two main things. They did something different and at the same time they did and do it the best. Now it is the center and life of tango. Even Central Europa can use this activity. You can invite the best dancers from there and you can advertise them in whole continent, then I am sure that many people who are interested in tango will come to your place. You will not be only center of intellectual life because, by doing that you will earn money. You will have many tourists and everybody will talk about it.

    Being different could bring the Central Europa into the intellectual life of whole continent. I think, it is not so hard to do it.

    Metin Aydemir

  26. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into intellectual life of the whole region?

    I think that we are not able to perceive intellectual life of Central Europe without a small glance into its history. Rather than a physical entity Central Europe represents a concept of shared history, which contrasts with that of surrounding areas. The history of the last century has been marked by the important moments in history of Europe such as WWI and WWII, the Cold War, collapse of Soviet Union, forced migration. The Cold War divided Central Europe politically, culturally and intellectually into two different halves with clashing ideologies, different level of quality of life and various aspirations for better future. The Eastern block (Soviet part of Central Europe) dominated by communist ideology, with long-term suppression of all political freedoms and multiple abuses of human rights and the Western block (NATO and its allies) with market-oriented economy and liberal attitudes towards its own people. Taken into account such a divisive history, the concept of common intellectual identity is very elusive. In order to bring Central Europe into intellectual life of the whole continent, citizens of Central Europe should overcome the contradictions which were imprinted in their mind by different political regimes, comprehend that we all share the same values and cultural heritage.

    Intellectual life of our countries has always been inseparable. We must be involved in intellectual life of our community since childhood. European educational system from elementary school to higher education should promote the spirit of European cultural inseparability, as all the separate countries have particular people in various occupations such as literature, architecture, sculpture, high art who contribute in the development of intellectual identity of the whole continent. Education should focus on the dialogue between cultures, based on the principle that unity is a diversity, disclose the potential for innovation and creativity, so that children from Central, Western or Eastern part of Europe could feel their cultural connection with each other and develop a desire to enlarge and enrich intellectual scopes of their particular nations as well as of the whole continent.

    We also must take into account the role of European Institutions as the intermediary between various countries in Europe. These Institutions shall provide equal participation of prominent people in cultural and intellectual life of the continent, promote the image of European Union of diverse counties and people, who believe in the power of living and working together in the name of values that they share and defend: human dignity, solidarity, tolerance, freedom of expression, respect for human rights and diversity. With the help of special programs and forums we can provide dialogue between counties, as the rich diversity of cultures and wealth of creativity and intellect in Europe have the potential, if we can extend the reach of cultural and intellectual operators beyond their national and linguistic confines.

    In contemporary circumstances Europe faces a wide range of challenges and in order survive and prosper in future, European leaders from the countries with very high level of development like Germany or Switzerland should create opportunities especially for people from less developed countries like Romania or Serbia: promote student-exchange programs, grants and scholarship for advanced students and talented youth, create career potential for whose who are able to enhance intellectual development. United Europe should also understand that time of polarized world and arm race is over, intellectuals and scientists don’t have need any more to create weapons of mass destruction. They can direct all their creativity and intellectual potential they possess for construction of new technologies, aiming at elimination of hunger, development of cure from terminal maladies and search of new means of renewable energy resources. European Institutions should systemize and unify the scientific and cultural data and provide equal access to anyone who is interested in acquisition of knowledge. I think the one global European base where all the information about people, discoveries, studies, work of arts which transformed the life of Europe is collected, could provide the necessary tools for cooperation between intellectual elites from different parts of Europe.

    Central Europe has always been an integral part of the development of the continent. Many scholars often identify this region as being one of the world’s richest sources of creative talent between 17 th. and 20 th. centuries. Central Europe has a long list of people who achieve great results in biology, medicine, chemistry, engineering, invention and other disciplines. For their work they were awarded Nobel price and took other prestigious rewards , like for example Marie Sklodowska-Curie took the price for outstanding achievements in chemistry (was born in Poland) or Albert Einstein, the giant of science, who developed the general theory of relativity and took the price in 1921 in physics (was born in Germany). Here just some examples of great people whose intellectual progress is beyond exaggeration. I think in any generation we can find such people, who may help to pave the way into bright future, if we can create the necessary conditions for the development of their intellectual potential. But not only distinguished people alone improve level of intellectual life of the region, we must remember that any person is capable to broaden intellectual horizons, acquire additional knowledge about the world around us. So every citizen of Central Europe could bring something new Central Europe into intellectual life of the whole region.

    Veranika Kalenik

  27. First of all we have to think what intellectual life actually means. In my opinion intellectual life is all about getting to know yourself, your limits, pushing yourself further, giving yourself challenges. When people ask a lot of question and do everything to find an answer, they are trying to me know the intellectual life and aspect of it. In the past of Central Europe we had a lot of people living ‘the intellectual life’ like for example everybody know Nobel Prize winners such as Maria Skłodowska-Curie in psychics and chemistry or Henryk Sienkiewicz in literature. Central Europe is also known thanks to Mikołaj Kopernik who discovered that the earth moves around the sun. We have a lot of potential in that field. I think in Central Europe there are a lot of people with such a gift and open mind, who are willing to do everything to take that risk and achieve something big in life. We hear in news very often that young people achieve something like for example young seventeen years old polish girl made a breakthrough in medicine. This teenage girl has developed a therapy using nanotechnology, which allows directly deliver medicine to the affected tumor location. She has designed direct delivery of doxorubicin therapy directly to cancerous cells of the pancreas, which can change the medicine and help in curing cancer all over the world. Another discovery in medicine was find by a young polish boy who find a cure for Alzheimer. Recipe for a cure is completely safe for the human body and by low production cost can be produced on a mass scale. Substances in the overburden specifics degrade proteins in neurons defaulting, thereby causing the stop and even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Before the drug will go to the pharmacy, will go a long and expensive tests, among others chemical cells and in animals. As we see Central Europe have much to offer in the the medical field, which can improve well-beings in the whole continent. I think many people see future in that branch and begin to lead “intellectual life” by studying and improving themselves, seeing what they can do and what they cannot. They learn from their mistakes and they are hope for our future. Unfortunately many of them moved out because they can’t see future here. I also see a lot of potential in technological stuff. In Central Europe we have a great deal of informatics and people working with technology. I can’t seem to find unemployed informatics. As we know we are living in the era of computer, Internet and any other technical innovations. Every producent is tring to beat their opponents by creating something better, new and useful in this era. That’s why many people are needed in this area. In Poland very often young men are choosing path which is connected with technology and electronic domain. This leads to great inventions and recognition in the world. For example lately Polish psychic scientists discovered topological insulators crystalline which will be used in improving power and speed of computer. They can be smaller and faster in very near future. In this insulators conductive surface occurs spontaneously and does not require any other material and can not be removed also can conduct electricity even better than gold. It turned out that something should normally be isolated in the interior and on the surface, conducts electricity very well on the surface. This will change computer market all over the world very soon. We can expect big changes in that field. Another area which Central Europe is famous for or was known for are their cultural aspects such as poetry, music and literature. Not much time ago a lot of recognition Central Europe got for literature, when Wislawa Szymborska received her Nobel Prize. There are many authors who admire this literature and is very well known beside Central Europe, where we have tons of people with ‘artistic soul’. People know that there will find something worth their attention, that there are many intellectuals who are willing to share their experience, their knowledge, their passion. In the air we can still hear Chopin music and and his heritage being ready to explore. In conclusion in my very own opinion there are many aspects which I think Central Europe could ‘shine’ and pass this to other countries and the whole continent. The most important are field connected with medicine, technology and culture. This areas could give recognition in the whole world and show others how intellectual life looks like in Central Europe. I hope that we are gonna get there soon. I would like to think there will be time when Central Europe will be new capital of culture with educated people who know what they are going to do with life and where they are heading. But when things gonna change ? Will I be here to watch this happening? I don’t know the answer, but I really hope that this changes are coming.

  28. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Webster dictionary defines intellect “as the ability to think logically”. However when we define intellectual life ,what we are talking about, is the way we process everyday information and use our intellect to make everyday decision in this life. This could be said about single person or a group of people. I believe that the key to improving intellectual life in any country or on the whole continent comes down to 2 major factors. They are:
    1) Diversity
    2) Technological innovation
    Of course there could be more to the intellectual life or improving it, but I believe those are the two most important aspects. What exactly do I mean by diversity? I mean the sharing of ideas between different nations, having no racism and accepting people of different races, culture or color. As an international student who was born in what considered being a third world country and educated and lived in United States I believe diversity is very important in each country and can increase intellectual life of each person in any country. Diversity comes from the fact that people accept and understand other cultures and traditions and try to learn about it. However, there are some countries who are less willing to accept different nations and have hard time to adapting to different or altered environment. Nationalism, for the lack of words, in itself is good, when people are proud to be born in certain country and love their people, culture and traditions, but extreme nationalism can lead to catastrophic results as seen in World War 2. The main question still stands, as how could diversity improve intellectual life? When country as diverse as United States for example, you have many different cultures with different views on certain aspect, and those differences what make diversity good. Because some people have fresher look on life and some people have older or more conservative ways (not necessarily bad). . That is why universities and school try to diversify and make its school more diverse by employing and accepting students from different countries because it improves the intellectual life and make people more aware of countries and cultures that are different than theirs and it (diversity) enriches the educational experience. Diversity also helps to prevent and challenges the stereotyped preconceptions. It also helps to think more critically thus increasing intellect, and challenges people to communicate and learn from people of different background. The more diverse the person the more curious he or she is, because it dares people and also exposes them to learn or contribute to certain group of people or nations. We learn from people who are from different culture, religion or race because they have different views on certain topics and it helps us to grow more intellectual as we start thinking outside the box.
    Central Europe can improve and does improve intellectual life in whole continent. You have such programs such as Erasmus, FLEX and other similar opportunities where people from different countries can study in different environment with different language and knowledge. Such programs do bring diversity into the Central Europe or the Europe as a whole by increasing intellectual life and curiosity of people. Because the main idea of intellect or having an intellectual life is no more than as to having a desire and curiosity to learn something new, to experience something unfamiliar and thus increasing one’s mind. According to the article “Rethinking Diversity for a Global Scope: A European / EMEA” Michael Stuber writes that “the major difference, however, is the very limited common European identification in Europe which mainly occurs at the national level and is fostered by national cultures and languages”. This is true, because we have so many nations in Europe and integration of all cultures would be problem some, that is why we need programs such as ERASMUS, FLEX and similar programs.
    In addition to the diversity, Central Europe can share its technological innovation with each other. Sharing the wisdom and experience with regards to technology, helps improve everyday life. For example Poland have certain knowledge that maybe Germany does not and vise verse and by sharing this information and sharing new technological advances can help to improve intellectual life of everyday person and any country, considering it is willing to accept and share its knowledge. That is why we have conferences such as Investor Day Central and Eastern Europe, which is held in Ukraine this year. Such conferences create and help share technological advances in each country and help other countries to also learn from them, and no one can deny that technological advances help improve intellectual life of the person or a group of people.
    I have briefly described what improvement Central Europe can bring to the whole continent. Diversity is the first one. They should make more exchange programs where students can exchange their knowledge and also gain more knowledge from different countries. The second part was about technological advances and sharing that information between countries. With introduction of European Union, Central Europe already has increased its intellectual life and the standards of living and I hope in future it would get even better.

    References:
    1) Michael Stuber. “Rethinking Diversity for a Global Scope: A European / EMEA Perspective”. The Diversity Factor. Volume 15, Number 1. 2007

    2) M.Gordon Hunter. “Technological Advancement in Developed and Developing Countries: Discoveries in Global Information Management”. Information Science Reference. 2010

    3) Les Rowntree, Martin Lewis. “Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development”.Prentice Hall. Fifth Edition. January 13,2011.

    4) Lonnie R. Johnson.” Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends”. Oxford University Press. 2002

  29. What new could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Before we start thinking about what new could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent, we have to clarify which European countries CE exactly includes, just to avoid misunderstandings. According to Encyclopedia Britannica the Central Europe consists of 9 countries: Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Other sources also mention Ukraine and Italy, but for the sake of this essay these two will be omitted. Now that it has been clarified, let’s get to the point.

    Some of us may have probably already noticed that if anyone talks about Europe in general, they usually mean countries like Great Britain, France, Germany or the Benelux region. Countries like Poland, Ukraine, Hungary or even Austria are generally not taken as seriously as the former ones (however, the latter acquired quite a decent amount of bad fame thanks to a certain 20th century politician, who somehow managed to become a German chancellor and for some reason didn’t like Jewish people very much). The reason behind all this is obviously wealth. But is there something else? The answer is yes – it’s how these countries contribute to the intellectual life of the whole continent. If an American praises the European culture, he (or she) most likely refers to the British, French or German cultures, and that’s because of how well these countries are able to position themselves in the foreigner’s mind. There is something really peculiar about these countries, which makes people all over the world completely oblivious to the rest of Europe.

    There is also another problem – the times we live in. The position of countries in the intellectual life is strongly dependent on their history. Some countries such as Great Britain, Germany or France have been occupying their territories and expanding them from the day they were born, and thanks to that they were able to create and uphold their position in the continent. The fate of the rest of the countries was much more twisted, territories kept changing etc. Things are a little bit different for Poland, were it not for the partitions in 18th century and, most of all, the Second World War (because of which the most of the country has been heavily damaged), the country would be much wealthier and stronger than it is today.

    With all of this in mind, the main question (what new could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?) seems to be quite difficult to answer. The first thing that comes to my mind is a bit radical: war. Obviously, killing people for the sake of politics is never good, and we definitely don’t want it to happen. However, wars (or civil wars) draw heavy attention to the countries involved, which can be really helpful in expanding the intellectual life of the whole continent. Nevertheless, in my opinion war is a tragedy and should never be considered as an option.

    Let’s focus on something less radical and potentially deadly. From what we could witness in the last few years, huge events such as Euro 2012 (which was organized by Poland and Ukraine) are something really worthwhile in terms of broadening the intellectual life of the whole continent, especially if they are properly executed (and in this matter the designated countries did their jobs excellently). The European cup in 2012 was a great chance for Poland and Ukraine to bring themselves into the intellectual life of the whole continent which the countries took. The amount of attention and interest these countries attracted after the event was uncanny. They have gained a lot of respect and everyone started taking them more seriously (since they proved they can get the job done really well). With that in mind we can easily conclude that such events, which in any way concern the rest of the continent, are really helpful in developing positive image of the organizers, and in this case, the Central Europe countries.

    There is also another way, much more political. As you can probably remember, in July 2011 Poland took over the rotating presidency of the EU for six months (for the first time since it joined the bloc in 2004) and since then the polish leadership has been perceived as very effective in developing the European Union in general, it was even said that it was one of the best periods in EU history. Overall, we can clearly see that such events can also increase the contribution of countries involved to the intellectual life of the whole continent. Each Central Europe country has a chance to use the European Council Presidency to gain fame and favor, so why not take it and try hard to earn a better position?

    As it turns out it is not easy to come up with something completely new in order to bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent. It would definitely have to be something extraordinary, a huge event or a great invention (e.g. a cure for cancer or common cold) in order to really get into people’s minds. I personally think that everything Central Europe countries need is a way to show their cultures off, to make others believe that their cultures are just as original and “cool” as the, for example, French or British ones are, and to prove that they have just as much contribution to the intellectual life of the whole continent as the other, wealthier countries.

  30. Maciej Karwiński
    Student of 4th year of European studies
    Poland – Past and Future. Geopolitics of European Integration.

    The role of the Central Eastern European states in the process of integration

    Europe is a continent with the oldest history worldwide and the international relations forming for centuries. Central Europe is a place where
    the interest of two great political powers – the East and the West clash.
    Is it possible for this place to become a meeting ground or even a catalyst
    of new ideas for the European Union?
    Historically the Central Europe has been a place of many wars and conflicts. This was due to its location. Even before the Piast dynasty, the Central Europe was a trade route connecting the North and the South, the East and the West. The Hanseatic League, the Amber route are just a few examples
    of the importance of this region in terms of trade. In these conditions,
    the unfortunate conflict has emerged since the beginning – the constant attempts of the Holy Roman Empire to strengthen their position and influence
    in the Slavic countries was obviously a spark of many local conflicts
    and rancours. Some of those conflicts influenced the future relations
    between countries and thus created a situation in which sometimes
    it seemed impossible to cooperate. Furthermore, the divisions of the Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) fueled the local conflicts.
    Some of the Central European countries became a melting pot of three
    or even four religions, others decided to quench any opposition and chose
    one leading religion. These divisions still exist, although its impact nowadays
    is significantly lower than in the past. XX century was a witness of
    the bloodiest conflicts worldwide and Central Europe was the spark and
    the main playground – World War 1, World War 2, the spread of communism and the conflict between the Soviets and the Western Europe.
    The Iron Curtain went straight through the middle of Central Europe, separating families, friends, business and political partners. The above mentioned was
    a grave historical mistake that contravened the process of European integration. Paradoxically this experience of Central Europe makes it a perfect place
    for the creation and exchange of ideas. No other area in Europe has experienced
    the positives and negatives of plurality and unity. However not until the collapse of Communism, were the Central European countries fully aware
    of their significance and impact.
    The Central Eastern European states have been developing for many years within a different political framework, thus differences in mentality,
    lack of trust towards the political elites and development of civil society
    on the grounds of opposition to the government. The changes in the 80s and 90s led in most cases to democratic changes in the Central Eastern Europe
    and takeover by politicians chosen in free and general parliamentary election without various types of pressure or manipulation.
    The Central Eastern European states within the last two decades made enormous efforts to catch up with the Western Europe in terms of economy,
    living standard and political culture. The experience of changes
    was particularly difficult for the generations that had to live in both political systems. They were brought up in a system that could be called authoritarian
    and then had to adjust to new standards of living where the political elites
    were not enemies anymore and the society its opposition. The current generation could be the first one that has no recollection of communism,
    which paradoxically might prove beneficial for the process of unifying
    the societies and lead to a further unification of Europe.
    Despite the enthusiasm of the new member states, their eagerness to develop
    the EU there are still many discrepancies within. The Central Eastern European officials nowadays have the means to create and change EU structures
    and regulations that previously joining states had to simply accept
    and comply to. This might obviously become a threat to the “old EU” member states as it clearly decreases their influence on the common EU policy.
    Another urgent issue are the differences in standard of living in the old
    and new member states. Furthermore, the current instability
    on the eastern border of the EU and dynamic political changes
    in the North Africa have negative influence on the integration processes.
    The afore mentioned events are especially disturbing
    for the Eastern European societies, as they still remember the Cold War
    daily life and they are more aware of the dangers connected
    with the escalation of conflict.
    Despite the mutual benefit of the integration processes,
    there are still numerous discrepancies within the EU.
    The role of the Central Eastern states is crucial, as their experiences
    of the last century and the duality of some of the states (e.g. Germany) change the perspective and this might prove necessary to unify the continent
    in the spirit of Founding Fathers’ idea.

  31. I think that in the introduction it is worth to explain the term Central Europe. Through the words we understand the region is located between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Available sources of different Member States belong to this part of the „old” continent. The most common are classified to this region: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, which is a Member States of the Visegrad Group. Some scholars of this group also add Slovenia and sometimes even Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. I am in the essay, will focus only on Poland for two reasons. Firstly, the course in which I am writing this essay is called Poland Past and Future. Geopolitics of European Integration. Secondly, I am Polish and I want to show how many Poles are able to contribute to the intellectual life of Europe. I believe that it is worth and also briefly to explain what can we understand by intellectual life. In my opinion, the term means any intellectual property in terms of culture (literature, music, film, art) and science (inventions, chemistry, physics, etc.). In my essay, I will focus on the Polish contribution in terms of Science (mainly inventions) in the development of Europe and even the world.
    I believe that it is appropriate to show how great potential lies in Poland in terms of inventiveness and creativity by giving examples from history. There’s probably no person in the world who don’t know the accomplishments of Mikołaj Kopernik or Maria Curie-Skłodowska. It is also worth to mention about the ones who people from Europe not really remember, but thanks to their inventions, our life has changed significantly. To such great Poles we can include, among others: Jan Szczepanik (inventor of the telectroscope – the device that is considered a „forerunner” of the TV), Józef Bożek (he constructed the first steam-powered carriage in Europe and a boat with a steam engine), Kazimierz Prószyński (constructor of the pleograph, which is the device to take photos and movies). This invention was probably made by Prószyński before the creation of the cinematograph by the Lumiere brothers). I would like to also mention about Jacek Karpiński (inventor who overtook his era a few or several years and constructed a computer that was better than those made at the same time by the Americans, however, the Communist regime did not want to help Karpiński in its popularization). Provided examples are only a small handful of evidence as a great intellectual potential have Poles.
    Apart from historical examples I would also like to show that Poles are still able to bring a lot to the intellectual life of Europe. For confirmation of these words we can focus on Łukasz Wysocki-this is an 18-year-old high school student from Lublin, who invented substance for Alzheimer’s disease which may delay or even inhabit Alzheimer’s disease. Medicine for this disease hasn’t been invented yet-the teenager from Poland created a medicine, which perhaps does not cure fully this disease, but it can give a break to the creation of this type of medicine. A similar achievement of we can be proud of belonges to the high school student from Piotrków Trybunalski, who invented the method of delivering the medicine directly to the cancer cells by not spreading in the body and do not damage the internal organs. This is a very important discovery, however, the most striking fact in this story is that the inventor has only 17 years. By receiving appropriate education this young girl can make great things for both the European and the world’s intellectual life. It is also worth to mention about the invention of Lucjan Łągiewka. The inventor constructed a bumper, which by absorbing energy and transfer it to a rotating cylinder protects the car from crushing. Many foreign companies are interested in this invention, because this technology can be used in cars but can also in a spacecrafts or ships.To ground-breaking achievements in recent years we can include the invention of industrial methods of production graphene – a material that is the future of electronics, which can be used for the production of liquid crystal or touch screens, solar panels, or computers. So far, scientists in the world have managed to create graphene, however for too much money and small size. Polish scientists created a way to produce large lobes in high-quality – so far not managed to get it to anyone in the world.
    In conclusion, based on my examples-historical and present, I think that, we can say that we have many talented and creative people. Unfortunately, sometimes the world, Europe or even Poles don’t remember about them. In lot of cases they didn’t receive help in developing their talents, and another course of events could make things a lot more breakthroughs. However, I think that my examples show that we are still able to bring a lot to the intellectual life not only of Europe, but of the world as well. In my opinion, despite of the fact that we are currently quite low in the rankings in terms of innovation, with the appropriate use of brainpower Poles will be able to be one of the most innovative and competitive country in the world.

  32. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    The Central Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. However, all of that terms are differently defined according to borders and historical periods. Some of scientific literature refers ‘’Central Europe’’ as a synonym of V4 Group including Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary.

    In the course of International Geographical Union conference in Prague 1994., has been decided to include a states of V4 group as well as Germany, Austria and Lichtenstein under this term.

    The difficulties of definition has been exactly shown in the Middle Europe, or Arcadia, Atlantis and Jerusalem article by Bogusław Zieliński. Researcher emphasize, that main problems connected with this category are results of: the hybrid-cultural- political – geographical nature. Boguslaw Zielinski has been noticing that history of that appellation introduced to intellectual circulation during Second World War is really complicated and ideologically united to expansive policy of East Germany. From the other point, conception “Middle Europe” has been used by residents in this region as an intellectual defend against imperialist attempts powerful borderers. Tomasz Masaryk for example, first resident of Independent Czechoslovakia, has been written about „ special area small countries”, emphasizing specificity of area, being different of world powers as a Russia and Germany.

    Zielinski has been mentioned series conceptions of Middle Europe, describing them by using the three metaphors:

    1)Middle Europe as a Arcadia – From this perspective in this region has been noticed especially cultural space. It is characterized by “maximum differences in minimum space “– it is a cultural crucible, community of small nations, which have made a model of peace coexistence.

    2)Middle Europe as a Atlántida – this conception merging with opposition due to soviet domination and describing region as a “kind of Atlántida flooded in communistic flood”

    3)Middle Europe as a Jerusalem – that kind of perspective is a constitute of mythologization, and examples that can be noticed in literary works of Bruno Schulz, Frank Kafka and Danilo Kisa. One side is coming out as a characteristic vision of destruction but other side is coming out as a nostalgic introduction monarchy of Habsburgs, connected to vision of happiness in multinationals community.

    According to definitions above, we can conclude that Europeans middle countries belongs to Visegrad group, which have been used as a sort of buffer between communism and capitalism; liberalism and authoritarianism, but their culture and mentality is an effect of these two streams.

    Judging participation these countries in the intellectual life all over the continent, we have to admit that in the past over history, they have brought enormous influence on sciences, culture and art in Europe already. We own foundations of present Europe by these countries.

    Simple idea of democracy or tolerant has been raised exactly in the area of Poland.
    First act in Europe, guarantee equality of confessions has been Warsaw Confederation Act, adopted on first Royal Elections in 1573rd. in Warsaw, but idea of democracy is reflected in Kingdom of Poland. Present social system in which we are living right now has been originated mainly in Czech Republic and Hungary and these countries, dominated by residents and bourgeoisies also originated Spring of Nations– social, political and national revolution in the middle-ease part of continent.

    It worth to remember about important scientists, which has come from that part of continent, for example : Maria Skolodwska Cuirie (radioactivity), Kazimierz Proszynski (Aeroscope), Jan Szczepanik (Bulletproof vest), Bernard Bolzano (Theory of science), Otto Wichterle (Contact lenses), Josef Ressel (Propeller), Jan Jansky (Blood type), Stefan Banic (Parachoute) and more.

    Present times, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary are having some kind of revival by cause of European Union. They are having fast modernization and evolution of infrastructure, economy, education and also awareness of community is going stronger. Like in the past in South Korea and China, these countries which we mentioned are drawing more and more new abroads investors like Google, Microsoft, Carrefour, Naspers, Volksvagen etc.

    As a quite new members of European Union, they are brining enormous enthusiasm, freshness and faith in these values, which has been forgotten in western countries rotted through snobbism and liberalism.

    Concluding, countries of Middle Europe are disposing huge stock of well educated, cheap specialists and scientists, which ones by using national creativity, as a mix of German conscientiousness and touch of Slavic abstract thinking is furthering to rise new ideas and inventions, however the ‘open space’ of European Union promotes the circulation of these concepts.

    Benjamin Szyszko

  33. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?”

    The intellectual life of whole continent is not as easy to define as one could think. The intellectual life, and in general the whole cooperation between the individuals conducted to living is much more complicated, because of it’s dependence. To create an intellectually vivid continent it is compulsory for individuals to share their knowledge towards the developments of the whole as a nation, as a continent and as a globe population. Pushing up the people for a new level of development also intellectual one, needs from Central Europe nations sensation of commonwealth in which the most important is a human. It requires many of sacrifices, such as getting rid of sense on closed individualism and concerns focused on personal profits, and instead creating individuals who are speaking with openness and solidarity, society where there’s more empathy for others not only for ourselves. It can be achieved by ensuring the people the level of quality of life at sufficient one and a transparent government. It can be supported by mini and multilateral cooperation of Central Europe Countries, only if there is willingness to stay open for the exchange.
    European Union as a form of a cooperation is a great example, which is letting the underdeveloped (compared to highly developed countries) minimalize the differences and profit from new perspectives, which EU brings. On the other hand there are some disputed aspects of such a close integration between the countries as they seem to loose their sovereignty and independence. Nevertheless, even if once country is loosing some of it’s sovereignty, it’s gaining something else. Culture, which is specific for each region or country, is on and on percolating from one to another. It’s inevitable to stay resistant for abroad influence in today’s globalizes World, the question rather is how to gain from globalization and fast flow of information the most, than how to stay persistent.
    The role of Central Europe in process of deepening intellectual development is crucial. Not only crucial for present societies but also for the next generations, and high perspectives standing in front of them. What could bring the Central Europe into the intellectual life of whole continent? I think it has brought already immense input. The process of political transformation of late 80’s and 90’s and easy flow after fall of Berlin Wall, has change dramatically the shape of a continent. Openness and allowing the people to transfer easily between the countries has speeded up the flow of capital, also the human capital. People have started to travel across the Europe, reaching new horizons, scooping from different cultures, knowing more about among others tolerance and solidarity. They were finally granted to feel free on their continent, and finally able to discover what they only heard of. The exchange between the cultures is the thing, which accordingly to me provide Us-people the development of individuals and a whole. Gaining from others, and giving back is the only way for fast and efficient development of intellectual life of continent. At this point it’s relevant to mention the V4 group, which is a great form of “non- frame” international Central Europe partnership. Both on international area, and economic area V4 is forefront group, which was created in 1991 to confront political challenges, such as building the democracy, transparency and protection of human rights. The democracy system is the only one, in my personal opinion, which leads to undisturbed and unlimited development of individuals, and it requires unstoppable reinforcement . What else can be done by Central Europe, is keeping on following the path designated to expand access to information. The youth as all of times the most important capital, which accordingly to Sustainable Development foundations must be provided the same or better conditions of living as we live in, is the most important existing and essential capital. We must take actions, leading to as wide access to international societies as possible. The Erasmus programs are great example of expanding the access for exchange between students, although personally I think they should be refined in a way each student gains more not only from actual stay in abroad country but also from the university experience which is very often treated too loosely. On the other hand, it’s one personal aim to gain as much as one wants. It’s our own choice how developed we stay, or in what developing way we keep moving. The role of governments in Central Europe countries is to ensure free access without limitations for all, who are desperate to expand horizons, and expand their knowledge. Governments should also protect the independence, but in a way that doesn’t create separation but rather protects freedoms and full access for international exchange in various areas.

  34. What new in your opinion could bring Central Europe into the intellectual life of the whole continent?

    Intellectual life, first of all, is not confined to intellectuals. Intellectuals as a class do exist, though they are defined and organized in different ways in different cultures [4]. They can play a valuable role. But a democracy cannot depend on intellectuals alone. A democracy requires the intellectual effort of all its citizens, and it must value intellectual practices other than those associated with high culture.
    Everyone has an intellectual life; everyone has questions and thinks about them. But many unfortunate dynamics have conspired to prevent the intellectual life of democratic society from reaching its full potential. Intellectual talent and achievement are often treated as the status markers of an elite, and the formally meritocratic procedures of democratic education can be used to increase the stigma associated with modest educational success. Intellectual snobbery can be used to control people, and it provokes intellectual insecurities and defensive reactions. The very attempt to discuss intellectual life can be perceived as an attempt to lay a burden of judgement on people whose lives are too demanding to enable them to live up to it, and intellectual aspirations may be culturally marked as a betrayal of one’s group, for example as „acting white”. The norms of intellectual life may be interpreted as attempts to bias political rules or to pacify dissent, and indeed such interpretations have often had much basis in truth.
    Intellectual life has often been caught in political conflicts. Burkean conservatives long questioned the wisdom of attributing rationality to the lower orders, much less educating them, lest they take it upon themselves to devise a new social order (Herzog 1998). The founder of modern public relations, Edward Bernays, was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, and was quite open in his project of using Freud’s ideas to keep social decision-making power in the hands of an elite few (Ewen 1996). This is not a democratic vision of intellectual life. Marxism, for its part, has often celebrated the worker-intellectual, and particularly the collective intellectual efforts of working people. Such Marxist texts as E. P. Thompson’s (1963) „The Making of the English Working Class” are the foremost depictions of popular intellectual life. But in practice the Leninist vanguardism of most organized Marxism has promoted the opposite approach, in which the workers are molded and judged in terms of the degree of conformance between their views and the world-encompassing theories of the intellectual-activist elite.
    In particular, an intellectual life is not just for introspective people; it can be equally relevant to someone who stays immersed in practical action and mixing with others. Fiction, music, and television can certainly be part of intellectual life, even if much of the output in those media is not intended that way [3]. Intellectual life includes the many cultural projects, such as the growing movement in the United States to reunite the black and white descendents of slave-owners (Fulwood 1999, Henry 2001, Richardson 2000), that make a personal journey into the raw material for social reflection. Different kinds of intellectual life can have very different architectures, from the armchair to the cafe table to the teenage bedroom or monastic cell, or indeed the laptop and airplane seat, and digital librarians can aspire to deliver information services that are fitted to the form and customs of each of these locales.
    In particular, an intellectual life is not just for introspective people; it can be equally relevant to someone who stays immersed in practical action and mixing with others. Fiction, music, and television can certainly be part of intellectual life, even if much of the output in those media is not intended that way [3]. Intellectual life includes the many cultural projects, such as the growing movement in the United States to reunite the black and white descendents of slave-owners (Fulwood 1999, Henry 2001, Richardson 2000), that make a personal journey into the raw material for social reflection. Different kinds of intellectual life can have very different architectures, from the armchair to the cafe table to the teenage bedroom or monastic cell, or indeed the laptop and airplane seat, and digital librarians can aspire to deliver information services that are fitted to the form and customs of each of these locales.
    Yet intellectual life really is to some extent a space apart, and it is worth considering just how. To speak of an intellectual life does not disparage other parts of life. In fact, colloquial usage usefully treats one’s intellectual life as one „life” among many — social, professional, emotional, personal, and so on. These „lives” can have various qualities: compartmentalized, integrated, in conflict, and so on. A given individual might devote disproportionate effort to some of them while the others atrophy, and the atrophy of any „life” is regarded as unhealthy. A healthy life, accordingly, is said to be „full” or „balanced”. An intellectual life can become stale just as a love life or professional life, yet the pain of a stale intellectual life seems harder to identify. I will return to the nature of this pain later on.
    The modern history of ideas about the intellectual life of a society begins with Vico and Herder, who originated the romantic idea of discrete and organic civilizations, each with its own immanent phases of intellectual development (Berlin 1976). This sort of theory made sense in the context of political unification projects in Italy and Germany, and in this tradition there arose a sophisticated vocabulary for talking about a society’s collective intellectual legacy, the unconscious contents of its culture, the state of its language as expressed in works of literature, and so on.
    But geographic mobility and cultural diversity challenge the picture of discrete civilizations, and the emergence of a global movement for human rights based on liberal premises challenges the radical communitarianism of the romantic theory. Real commonalities do knit modern societies — mass media, political events, economic conditions, a shared legal system, ecological problems, market-driven dealings across community lines, and so on. But these produce overlaps and interactions among subdivisions, not an organic whole. The romantic theory of a society’s intellectual life was powerful but misleading.
    Every society has many intellectual subtraditions, both among intellectuals and among other sectors, and many intellectual social histories have yet to be written [6]. But intellectual life is always embedded in an institutional order, and in a democratic society it would seem particularly important to investigate the intellectual workings of the sphere of public debate. There is much to investigate. Despite simple views of the public sphere as a floor that any individual citizen might take, in fact the opinion columns of newspapers are dominated by accredited producers of opinion in universities, government, industry, and think tanks. Ordinary citizens are nearly invisible, except as props, in letters to the editor, and in sound bites chosen by journalists, in most of the institutions of public debate. This division of labor makes some sense. Because individual human beings are inherently limited in their cognitive capacities, political movements must distribute arguments to their followers. Otherwise no individual, full-time intellectual or not, would be able to formulate winning arguments on a full range of complex modern issues.
    If we consider Central Europe in the context of European Union, so there are many opportunities given by the Union for the researches, scientists for somehow to rise the intelectual life in the region. The one of such program is called Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. This program covers research and innovation funding throughout Europe. It will be bring together in a coherent and flexible manner all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The new programme, which will run from January 2014 to December 2020, aims to secure the EU’s global position in research, innovation and technology, and is designed to create new growth and jobs in Europe.
    The one of the main key priority of Horizon 2020 is: excellent science.
    Horizon 2020 will raise the level of excellence in Europe’s science base and secure Europe’s long-term competitiveness by fostering a steady stream of world-class research. It will support the best ideas and develop talent and infrastructures within Europe, making Europe an attractive location for the world’s best researchers. European Research Council (ERC): The ERC will continue to support the most talented and creative individuals and their teams to carry out frontier research of the highest quality. Future and Emerging Technologies (FET): Collaborative research will be funded to open up new and promising fields of research and innovation. Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA): MSCA will enable researchers to access opportunities for excellent training and career development. Research Infrastructures: Ensure Europe has world-class research infrastructures (including e-infrastructures) accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.
    Horizon 2020 will help address major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere. A challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities, as well as the private sector.
    Also I should mention about strategic programme of European Union ”Europe 2020”
    Three priorities should be the heart of Europe 2020:
    – smart growth – developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
    – sustainable growth – promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy;
    – inclusive growth – fostering a high-employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion [7].
    These three priorities are mutually reinforcing; they offer a vision of Europe’s social market economy for the 21st century.
    There is a large consensus that the EU should commonly agree on a limited number of headline targets for 2020. These targets should be representative of the theme of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. They must be measurable, capable of reflecting the diversity of Member States situations and based on sufficiently reliable data for purposes of comparison.
    Each Member State is different and the EU of 27 is more diverse than it was a decade ago. Despite disparities in levels of development and standards of living the Commission considers that the proposed targets are relevant to all Member States, old and newer alike. Investing in research and development as well as innovation, in education and in resource efficient technologies will benefit traditional sectors, rural areas as well as high skill, service economies. It will reinforce economic, social and territorial cohesion. To ensure that each Member States tailors the Europe 2020 strategy to its particular situation, the Commission proposes that these EU targets are translated into national targets and trajectories to reflect the current situation of each Member State and the level of ambition it is able to reach as part of a wider EU effort to meet these targets. In addition to the efforts of Member States the Commission will propose an ambitious range of actions at EU level designed to lift the EU onto a new, more sustainable growth path. This mix of EU and national efforts should be mutually reinforcing.
    Smart growth – an economy based on knowledge and innovation.Smart growth means strengthening knowledge and innovation as drivers of Europe future growth. This requires improving the quality of our education, strengthening research performance, promoting innovation and knowledge transfer throughout the Union.
    Digital society – the global demand for information and communication technologies is a market worth € 2 000 billion, but only one quarter of this comes from European firms. Europe is also falling behind on high-speed internet, which affects its ability to innovate, including in rural areas, as well as on the on-line dissemination of knowledge and on-line distribution of goods and services. Action under this priority will unleash Europe’s innovative capabilities, improving educational outcomes and the quality and outputs of education institutions, and exploiting the economic and societal benefits of a digital society. These policies should be delivered at regional, national and EU level.
    There is one main flagship, in my opinion, which is connected with intellectual life. Flagship initiative: „Youth on the move” – the aim is to enhance the performance and international attractiveness of Europe’s higher education institutions and raise the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU, combining both excellence and equity, by promoting student mobility and trainees’ mobility, and improve the employment situation of young people.
    ”Youth on the move” aims to improve young people’s education and employability, to reduce high youth unemployment and to increase the youth-employment rate – in line with the wider EU target of achieving a 75% employment rate for the working-age population (20-64 years) – by:
    – making education and training more relevant to young people’s needs;
    – encouraging more of them to take advantage of EU grants to study or train in another country;
    – encouraging EU countries to take measures simplifying the transition from education to work.
    Methods:
    1. Coordinating policy to identify and stimulate action at EU and national level.
    2. Specific actions designed for young people – such as the preparatory action ‚Your first EURES job’ for labour market mobility within the EU, and increased support for young entrepreneurs via the European progress microfinance facility.
    Around 5.5 million young people are unemployed in the EU, which means that 1 in 5 people under 25 who are willing to work cannot find a job. The unemployment rate among young people is over 20% – double the rate for all age groups combined and nearly 3 times the rate for the over-25s. 7.5 million people aged 15 to 24 are currently neither in a job nor in education or training [7].
    To my mind, it is the great opportunity for talented young people especially from the Central Europe, because they will have chance to show themselves on the European labour market and their skills in differnt spheres.
    Back to the past, in the Central Europe we have a lot of scientists, poets who got Nobel prizes, such as Wisława Szymborska Czesław Miłosz Władysław Reymont Henryk Sienkiewicz Imre Kertész (Literature), Marie Skłodowska-Curie,( Chemistry and Physics) George de Hevesy( Chemistry), and many others. With such intellectual background I believe that citizens of Central Europe with the help of encouraging programmes of European Union will bring much more to the intelectual life of the world, comparing to the last decade.
    As we can see, nowadays, the countries in the world, especially European Union concentrate more on market, high profits, high living standards and not in cultural intelectual life. Of course, reseearches, scientists they also are included in the intelectual life. But what could we tell about poetry, music? Now it is not an option, because it doesn’t give profit to the country. And it is a pity, because even when the culture center of Central Europe disappered, despite this Central Europe still has young talented writers, musicians, poets. But, unfortunately they are not supported by the governments.
    But still, there are organised some contests for the writers, poets, the one example of such is – Angelus Central European Literary Award ( Poland). It’s an international prize, where very often an international writers come to Wrocław to receive the award. To my mind, it’ s a good chance for the writers to show themselves, their works. And such contests and prizes shoud be organised more and more not only for writers, but also for poets, musicians, and in film industry. If other Central European countries will take such initiative from Poland than really we could talk about the revival of intellectual life in this region.
    At the beginning of this century Central Europe was a major cultural center, despite its political weakness, perhaps even the greatest one. Though the importance of Vienna, the city of Freud and Mahler, is readily acknowledged today, its importance and originality make less sense if you do not consider all these aspects concerning with the other countries and cities, which together have participated and contributed creatively to the culture of Central Europe. If Schoenberg school founded the twelve-tone system, the Hungarian Béla Bartók, one of the greatest musicians of the XX century, knew how to discover the last original opportunity in the music based on tonal principle. Cultural dynamism of german-speaking countries intensified after 1918 p., when Praha offered to the world the innovations of structuralism and the Prague linguistic school. And in Poland, The Big Three: Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz and Stanisław Witkiewicz preceeded to European modernism of the 1950s, especially the so-called absurd.
    There is a question: was all this creative explosion simply a geographic coincidence? Or maybe it rooted in a long tradition, a common past? Or to put it another way: does Central Europe was a real cultural figuration with its own history? And if such a configuration exists, can it be defined geographically? Where are its borders?. It would be senseless to try to precisely define its boundaries. Central Europe is not a state: it is culture or destiny. Its borders are imaginary and must be drawn again and again with each new historical situation.
    The disappearance of the cultural center of Central Europe, of course, was one of the biggest events of this century for the whole of European civilization. So, how does it happen, that it passed unnoticed and unnamed? The answer is simple: Europe did not notice the disappearance of its culture, because it no longer sees its unity as a cultural unity.
    In fact, on what the European union is based?
    In the Middle Ages it was based on a common religion. In the modern day, when medieval God turned into lack of God (Deus absconditus), religion has receded, giving a way to the culture that has become the embodiment of the highest values by which European humanity understands itself, defines itself, identified itself as European.
    Now it seems that another change occurs in this century, no less important than that which separated the Middle Ages from the modern era. As long before. God inferior the culture, the culture, in its turn, is giving way.
    But to whom does it give way and for what? What area of the highest values will be able to unite Europe? Technical achievements? Market? The media? (Or a great journalist will replace a great poet?) If ever journalism, it seemed, was the addition to the culture, now, however, the culture is in favor of journalism. Media professionals decide who will be known and to what extent and according to which interpretation. The writer has not more inquired to the public directly, he has to be connected with it through a translucent media barriers.
    And in conclusion, I would like to say that it is all too tempting to think of the Central European idea itself as this train, lying abandoned in a railway siding somewhere in western Ukraine, its writers gazing forlornly from fogged-up windows. But as long as they are still writing, it is still worth talking about the train. Central Europe had the great impact on intellectual life of the continent in the last decade and I believe that in the future it will have much greater, and it will be a new breakthrough in the intellectual life.

    References:
    1. Bernard Barber, Intellectual Pursuits: Toward an Understanding of Culture, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998.
    2. Andras Bozoki, ed, Intellectuals and Politics in Central Europe, Budapest: Central European University Press, 1998.
    3. Ron Eyerman, Between Culture and Politics: Intellectuals in Modern Society, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994.
    4. Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Civility and Subversion: The Intellectual in Democratic Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
    5. Tom Steele, The Emergence of Cultural Studies: Adult Education, Cultural Politics, and the „English” Question, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1997.
    6. Thomas R. Lindlof, ed, Natural Audiences: Qualitative Research of Media Uses and Effects, Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987.
    7. Strategy – Europe 2020.

    Anastasiya Zvada

  35. In the field of intellectual culture and a Middle East Central Europe in the late Middle Ages survived fundamental breakthrough. He was associated with the rise of the universities in this part of Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In this paper I will try to outline a synthetic image transformations caused by the breakthrough, because universities have led to the creation of sustainable and thriving intellectual elites involved in the solution mate sphere of functioning of societies, states and the Church. There was a kind of intellectual and scientific awakening of large areas of Europe. In the sphere of intellectual culture and a Middle East Central Europe to the fourteenth century were as homogeneous region, although diverse in terms of intensity of contacts with most larger environments universities in France and Italy. Foundation for several universities in the second half of the fourteenth century in this part of Europe maintained its previous unity by more than a half century. Therefore, in their deliberations, I go beyond the Middle East Central Europe and also takes into account a broader geographical context of these historical problems.
    In recent years, we meet often in the press with news of the New World Order (The New World Order). There were also many books that extensively and deeper than newspapers and magazines, discuss the subject; some of them recalling its origins, and the second describing its current implementation. Publisher he offers his readers a series of the most important works that aim to comprehensively inform the who, why, when and where you came up with this initiative, and above all, in whose interest and how it is realized that New World Order. Now, at the end of the twentieth century increasingly not only speaks about the New World Governance, but also begins to pursue it and is usually against the wishes of the peoples concerned, states and historical political institutions. Hence the need to acquaint themselves with the issue of all, according to the principle of „nothing about us without us.” From time immemorial intercourse between different countries has always been very complicated, because, on the one hand, an attempt to come to a peaceful arrangement of relations with its neighbors, on the other hand often resorted to devious conspiracies, as well as a surprising war or to destroy the Revolution, which attempted to weaken his opponent.
    What we bring to Europe and what her to get? Such an approach to the problem may suggest that economic calculation in terms of potential gains and losses related to our membership in the European Union . In making its decision, we must therefore formulate a first type of business , and only on the basis of such a bill drawn tick the appropriate box on the ballot during the referendum. We – that is, who? The above scheme of thinking because it is the most legitimate when it comes to making projects in the economic or political. Thinking in terms of economics, it seems appropriate for businesses, political parties and the state. However, if the scheme were trying to move the church to the ground , most likely would meet with the objection yielding ideology of economist. Functioning however, in the context of liberal democracy and liberal economy , so we are deeply steeped in this type of mentality that unconsciously move this scheme also thinking on the ground. Also pay attention to the particular Central European tradition of a pluralistic society. Cultural diversity, which generally associate with America or contemporary residing by a significant group of immigrants metropolises of Western Europe, is a permanent component of the history of this part of the continent , including Polish, where it occurred contact our civilization with the civilization of Asia.” In 1900 Vienna, Budapest, Prague and other cities in Central Europe have become prototypes of multicultural societies that today, at the end of the twentieth century exist in cities such as London, New York, Paris, Berlin and Zurich. More than any other place, the cities of Central Europe were multicultural laboratories of modern times. To this list should add the cities of the Second Republic, as Lodz, Warsaw, Vilnius. Poland, for much of its history , was a multi-national and multi- state. This condition has been breached artificially as a result of World War II and the Yalta agreements. Tolerance and peaceful coexistence skills in a multicultural society in Poland was accompanied by a spirit of patriotism and fidelity to their national and religious traditions. I’ve never turned it on a massive scale in destructive nationalism or religious fundamentalism. If the process of European integration is so important from the point of view of Christianity relativization of the concept of sovereignty and the nation, the Poles have in this respect its rich experience that can be shared with others.
    It is worth noting that we are a nation known for its politeness. Evidence of this even a fragment of the book On . Politeness Poland has its own distinct style throughout and made a name for himself with a sincere taste Polish and did not take anything or very little of the foreign custom. Striking it once foreigners traveling in Poland who give sincere praise its seriousness and dignity and raise its quite distinct „Sarmatian grace” resulting from the special attachment to the next, respect for parents, the elderly this behavior, which certainly are worth presenting to the European forum. Next issue is hospitality. This attitude of the Poles which can’t be forgotten. With dignity to the „Guest in the house, God in the house”. Poles like to invite friends over and want to entertain them as well. Sometimes it takes the form of exaggerated when you want to take guests beyond their capabilities, not counting the cost, which can confirm the proverb „pledge, and put yourself”. It may not be commendable behavior , but it certainly shows the spontaneity of the Poles. Do not forget that we are also a nation who likes the company and meeting up with each other, in their own home. And this openness is another big positive, in my opinion , characteristic of the Poles, they could bring in a closed society west.

  36. The whole European continent is devided into many spheres but the primary partition is based mainly on the geographical level: one can distinct Western, Eastern, Southern and Northern Europe, but it is Central Europe that is changing over and over again, developing the most unpredictable outcomes one could imagine. These times Central Europe is getting more and more important and influential on the European arena and this is why we as the citizens should be aware of our own actions, decisions and what is the most important, our power to influence the stream of thought in Europe and the shape of life we live here. This paper discusses the fact that Central Europe can bring a lot to the intelectual life of the whole continent. At the beginning it is crucial to note, that we as people of Europe are very powerful and it is not only some government or some prime minister who are ruling the continent, because some decisions are firstly made on the level of a simple citizen and this is the ground, on which each country and each community is bulit. Secondly, it is the history of our nations that is constructing our consiousness: we’ve experienced a lot and we know what we need to fight for; what we lost once is not to be lost ever again. Next, the tough conditions in which people live in Central Europe, which are in many ways not to be compared with the situation eg. in the countries of Western Europe have led up to a great will for fighting for a better and a more interesting life. All this elements characterize Eastern Europe and add a lot to their intelectual image.

    The situation in Europe is changing right now as it appeared to us after the results of the elections to the European Parliament have been anounced. People don’t want to vote but when they do take part in the elections, they vote mostly for right-wing extremist parties which are critical about the European Union. The reason why I mention it is the fact, that this situation depicts what is going on in Europe, especially in Central Europe. We are able to feel and understand the need to govern the reality around us. People do not agree with many decisions, so they try to react and they are doing their best to underline the fact they exist and are aware of what is going on.

    We as Europeans differ so much that the best way to an agreement about some hot issues is to listen to each other and try to understand the position of each country. We as people of Central Europe are ready for a discussion about what is important for us. We’ve got at our disposal a great amount of an experience that could appear to be useful and helpful for other countries fighting for their rights and demands. The great example of it is the fact that it was only about 25 years ago when Poland was not able to call itself a serious political partner – we had nothing precious to offer to any European country. Now, after few new generations have been born and raised in the spirit of freedom, which is the most significant indicator of our nationality (not only in a sense of Poland, but also in the case of Czech Republik, Litauen, Latvia etc.) we are able to share this real experience with others. For me it is also to be noticed, that young educated people in Poland and other Central European countries do not understand themselves as inferior to the rest of the continent. Actually it could be the case as the economy of these countries are not comparable strong and their political position still leave much to be desired. Even though, people feel proud of their origin and cultural background they represent. We believe it is able to achieve the highest level of civilisation but for many people the most important thing is to feel confident, secure and respected. We fight for it and the aim is not so remote any more. Central Europe is gainig more and more respect because we have this power that was reavealed during last decades.

    Next thing is that through our history and experience we are able to see the European reality differently than eg. France or Germany. We appreciate smaller steps and see the threads of some serious alternations. During the last decades we have moved up and the pace in which the concerned countries develop is unbelievably fast and simply amazing. It was not a long time ago when the Russian empire imposed their power on us. It is never to be forgotten, but the experience we gained at that time and hundreds years ago during the partitions as well, we are ready to use and share today. In former times we were continually loosing something – not only lands, but also people and what is more important – the faith, too. The thing we never gave up with is our strong will for independence and our identity. Each of Poles, Czechs or Ukrainian has in his or her heart the country he or she belongs to, even though thousands of people emigrate, they know their place in the world and come back when they know they are needed. This is what other countries could learn from us – the sense of unity and identity – two factors so important in the time of globalization.

    Last but not least is the image and character of citizans, especially young people born in independent countries, which are spread in Europe and supported in our own countries: proud, intelligent, inquisitive and independent people of a strong will, who know what they need and want in their lives. Young people make their dreams come true and they do it in spite of many obstacles and difficulties they face. This is to be especially appreciated by other European countries because these, who demand from live something more than a simple and peaceful existence, even though it is not so easy in a reality of poverty, weak economy etc., they overcome their own borders which is sometimes the most difficult thing.

    To sum up, Central Europe differs from the rest of the continent. We are poorer with money, but richer with an experience and a strong will. There is a lot what we could bring to the intelectual life here and we do it continuously – on the level of our every day life and when we go to vote to the European Parliament, too. The tolerance, but also the loyalty to our own country and the main values portray the people of Central Europe, what in my opinion are the most precious and decisive features that we could offer the other European countries and to the world – neither money nor business makes us strong, but people, who are our best contribution to the European life.

  37. Центральна Європа не є державою. Буде безглуздим намагатися точно окреслити чи визначити її кордони. Її кордони уявні і вони змінювалиси враз з часом і історією. Щоб краще зрозуміти суть і значення того чим вона є для нас і для цілої Європи потрібно відштовхнутись від того, що вона досягла в процесі свого існування.

    До XIХ сторіччя Центральна Європа відрізнялась державно-політичною єдністю в рамах двох держав – імперії Габсбургів і Речі Посполитої – при етно-кульному розвитку. В новому вигляді Цетральна Європа стала предметом відносно широких дебатів з 1980-их років. Належність Польщі, Чехословакії, Угорщини до сфери впливу СРСР викликала у більшості інтелектуальної еліти цих країн відторгнення. Але з чсасом становлення та відтворювання своїх думок у різні проекти мусила та змінила ставлення вишуканої еліти таких країн як, Франція, Австрія та Німеччина. Країни, розвиток яких знаходиться на високому рівні у економічних та політичних сферах завжди не мають часу на потреби розвитку своєї… Одним з факторів надхнення завжди була потреба або відсутність матеріальних забезпечень. Тому на мою думку почуття культурного розвитку та внеску є найголовнішим чинникамом у своренні будь-якої спільноти.

    Центральна Європа повинна стати сім’єю рівноправних націй, кожна з яких, поважаючи інші нації, забезпечила б собі надійне існування під захистом сильної, об’єднаної держави, могла б також плекати свою індивідуальність. І це прагнення залишає за собою сліди та неймовірно глибокі впливи. Об’єкт Центральної Європи повинен стати сконденсованим варіантом самої Європи в цілому культурному розмаїтті.

    Історія поляків, чехів, словаків, угорців була могутньою, буйною та переривчастою. Усі їх традиції державності та становлення устрою були неймовірно слабші та менш тривалі, ніж відповідні традиції більш могутніх європейських країн.  Замкнуті та закриті між німцями з одного боку та росіянами з другого – країни Центральної Європи втратили силу в довгій боротьбі за існування та збереження своїх мов. Так як, вони ніколи повністю не були складовою частиною європейської свідомості,  та залишалися найменш відомою і крихкою частиною Заходу – ще більш прихованою заслоною своїх дивних і малодоступних мов.

    В кожному з заворушень Центральної Європи колективна культурна пам’ять та сучасні творчі намагання, зусилля взяли на себе таку велику та вирішальну роль, значно інтенсивну та вирішальну, ніж у будь-якому іншому європейському потрясінні або події. Толеровані владою під тиском громадської та спільної думки – незалежно, в яких проектах це відбулося – створені фільми, романи, п’єси,  художні виставки, театральні вистави, філософські праці, трактати, створені саме в Центральній Європі впродовж всього довгого періоду, часто досягають вершин цілої європейської культури.

    Я вважаю,  що спільними намаганнями та зусиллями країн, які змогли створити так багато неймовірних здобутків можна захопити цілий простір Європи.  Насамперед, треба звернути увагу на те, що може стати об’єктом зацікавленості суспільства як Європи, так і цілого світу загалом.

    Сучасна Європа представляє собою білий аркуш, на якому можна створити сценарій нової самоврядованої держави. Використовуючи минулі здобуткі інтелектуальності європейських представників можна створити модель ідеального життя. Поштовхом до цього також може бути розподіл економічних ресурсів для менш розвинених країн.  Також треба звернути увагу на те, що може загубитися та забутися з часом. Намагаючись відтворити загублені ідеї, суспільство починає працювати над рівнем своєї культурності та інтелектуальної розвиненості. Саме зараз, співпраця між країнами Центральної Європи може захопити зацікавленість людей, які зневірені в своїх діях в майбутньому.

    Основною тенденцією в суспільному житті Європи є тривіальність та шаблонність як думок, так і дій. Кожен існує згідно з чітким планом законодавства та устрію. Представники даного режиму не думають навіть над тим, як можна своє життя змінити та урізноманітнити. Кожна політична ідеологія несе перед собою наслідки розуміння попередніх устроїв. Прагнення змін та непередбачуваних персональних мишлень не потрібно жодному чітко спланованому устрою та загальній системі. Вихід з системи та анархічні процесії можуть стати підсумком зневаги над інтелектуальністю в суспільстві. Таким чином, потрібно створити грунт для відтворення та збереження ідей нових творців епохи сторіччя „Феномену Центральної Європи на тлі могутніх держав”. Засобами створення можуть стати масові заохочення та нові принципи реклами. Але, розглядаючи інтелектуальність, потрібно зневажити маркетенгові принципи та все, що може бути не творчим підхідом.

    Інтелектуальний рівень – це чіткі цілі, мета та місія кожної людини,  як і держави.  Ми настільки успішні та розвинені, наскільки вміємо будувати плани та досягати їх. Одним з перших правил успішних людей є чітке розуміння смислу життя, те в який спосіб і на яких умовах вони хочуть розвинутися.

    Інтелект – це капітан корабля життя, якщо він знає куди йти, то він сконцентрує свою енергію на досягнення поставленої мети. Людина повинна знати свої цілі, вибудовувати їх на рік, п’ять і на все життя. Так і країна може побудувати своє майбутнє на основі розуму таких талановитих  свідомих громадян.

  38. If someone were to ask me whether it is possible to make a prediction concerning what Europe will be like in ten years from now, I would surely reply that one of the aspects of the future Europe will surely be the growth of the geopolitical weight of the central Europe.
    It is not a case that the western Europeans have given up calling their central EU-fellows “eastern Europeans” because somehow the structural changes of those countries which belonged to the iron curtain did not remain unobserved. Accordingly, if, on the one hand, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia have still a lot of road ahead of themselves before running at the same speed of countries like Germany or France; on the other hand, it is also true that the Central European countries have demonstrated an enviable political and economical resilience, facing the financial crisis in the proper way. This is why these countries bounced forward in many rankings that regard education, financial stability and fight against the corruption.
    It is very likely indeed that such bounces are some of the general reasons of why the western Europeans have begun being less reluctant towards the idea of bringing the central Europe into the EU-project.
    Apart from this, the people of the countries of Central Europe have proved to have what the people of the other countries of the Union seem instead to have lost, namely: a strong civic sense and a good cohesiveness between different social classes.
    The steady, continuous social and economical growth of these countries represents indeed the highest expression of the surge of pride of the central European populations. For their main concern is to revitalise their nations, in spite of the horrors of the history. In this sense, the surge of pride of Poles has been masterly.
    Nevertheless, it is also true that the strong, genuine civic sense of the central Europeans is often confused for a sort of moronic nationalism by the western Europeans who, in turn, are not able to detect the populism of their own nationalism which is instead idiotic.
    The nationalism of Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovenians is rather something that usually turns into an exemplar form of loyalty towards the state and its history. An example of what I mean might be the celebrations that take place every March 15th in Budapest, when every Hungarian wears his own tricolour brooch to celebrate the 1848’s Magyar revolt against the Austrians for the independence. Theirs is not a ritual revitalisation of an idiotic historical imagination, it is rather a form of preservation of their history.
    Anyway, if this is to be considered nationalism, it does not subtend to a refuse of everything that is not within the boundaries of the nation. To be nationalist in this glance means to be able to preserve the national identity within the larger boundaries of a confederation of states as the European union may be. From this point of view, the states of the central Europe have undertaken the challenge of Europe better than many western countries.
    Above I instead talked about “good cohesiveness between different social classes”. In some way, it is possible to claim that the latter follows from the sort of nationalism that I have described so far.
    Indeed, while the growth of some countries like Italy, Spain or Greece has only been a modernisation without development which produced a loss of the civic sense and an enrichment of the population that favoured the rise of evident differences between the social classes, the recent economic history of the central Europe recounts that a modernisation with development is possible.
    This is, for example, the case of Poland that, being a social market economy, favoured its astonishing economical growth pushing over all in two directions: education and development.
    In the first case, the educational system remained free and accessible to everyone. In the second case, the big amount of the European funds was spent to develop services and infrastructures.
    Such policies played in favour of the cohesiveness of the citizens because, regardless the incomes, they have equal, direct access to the same public services.
    By contrast, the economical growth of Italy in the 50s has, for example, produced only social incongruities, due over all to the differences of incomes between people. That is, the modernisation without development I mentioned earlier was the direct consequence of the rise of salaries and of the worsening of the public services which allowed only the richest people to access the best services, paying.
    The growth of the Central Europe has followed instead the opposite direction and its effects have been over all a direct investment in the new generations that favoured the foreign investments and the rise of local enterprises thanks over all to the European funds. Moreover, the moderate raise of the salaries and the overall uniformity of the differences between the population favoured instead that the genuine, civic sense mentioned above was not lost.
    This is exactly what went wrong in the western Europe. Thus, albeit my analysis simplified many issues which are surely more complicated, I believe that the western Europeans have got a lot to learn from their central EU-fellows. For their humility and loyalty to the State is what today’s western Europeans generally lack.
    As a last resort, it is worth mentioning that the countries of the central Europe offer perhaps the best anti-crisis recipe, namely: direct investments on the young generations and flattening of the social differences. It is strange to say this, but the “undeveloped” part of Europe arrived at this conclusion much earlier than the most developed one. If there’s something that Central Europe may bring into the Union, it is exactly this. For Central Europe is exactly what the European Union should be like: an efficient economical apparatus entrusted by its own citizens.

  39. In order to answer this question I suggest firstly to outline and define the countries and the territory, which covers Central Europe and its economic and political sophistication.
    Thus, by the end of XVIII century Europe was divided into north and south, and the dividing line ran along the Alps. This vision of Europe was followed by the Romans, and a thousand years – the Italian Renaissance. However, later in the XVIII century, in the imagination of people the reorientation of the continent began, by which the north and south were considered philosophically less important than the east and west. Thus Europe began to see itself divided into East and West, and unto today.
    In general, the idea of Central European intellectuals with Western Europe revived Polish, Czechoslovak and Hungarian intellectuals back in the 1980s as an ideological antidote to the Soviet system, because the countries included in the composition of Eastern Europe, are in fact the countries that were under Soviet occupation until the fall of the „Iron Curtain” in 1989. In the early 90’s, when the European Community was prepared to transform itself into an economic union – „Europe 1992”, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, finding out the special problems of Eastern Europe in the economic plane, and for cultural recognition, clearly confirmed the retardation of these countries.
    In literature there is another definition, that Central Europe is uncertain zone of small nations between Russia and Germany. So according to this statement, Russia is not included to this list. Note that Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic countries are also among the countries of Central Europe, as the geographical center of Europe is in these countries.
    So, we note that the countries of Central Europe as a family of small nations, can not be separated from European history. History of the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Ukrainian has been turbulent and intermittent, and their tradition of statehood were weaker and less continuous than those of the larger European countries. The powerful Austrian Empire had a great opportunity to turn Central Europe into a strong state. But the Austrians, unfortunately, failed to build a federation of equal nations, and it was the misfortune of the whole of Europe. Unhappy people of Central Europe split their empire in 1918 without realizing that despite its inadequacies, it was irreplaceable and took advantage of the invaders – after the end of World War II Central Europe transformed into a region of small, weak states whose vulnerability ensured first enslavement by Hitler, and after World War II – victory of Stalin, the occupation by Soviet forces and political dependence of Russia for decades.
    As for the intellectual life, this issue is very important, especially in increasing globalization and structural changes in the economy.
    Nowadays, the structural changes in the economy requires rapid development of knowledge-based industries of high-tech industries and modernization of existing production facilities and highly competitive specialists able to perceive and to innovate.
    As the long experience of Western European countries shows, the best option to achieve a positive outcome, in addition to the development of education, importantly is to disclosure creative abilities of person. Probably it would be correct to note that those countries with the best results of democracy, also at a high level of culture and development are all prerequisites in order for people to satisfy their spiritual and moral interests. However, there are rampant sexual promiscuity and spiritual crisis in these developed countries.
    Perhaps it is the „backwardness” of Central Europe in the field of sex education and adherence to Christian tradition according to the canons of traditional churches (Catholic, Greek Catholic, Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.), it has the right to call this region beacon of piety and gives hope that and people in the most developed countries of Western Europe (including Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, of Denmark, France, Spain and Portugal) who thrive in full swing permissiveness and promiscuity, eventually return to the traditional peaceful coexistence, and will not continue to traumatize children, offend traditional families and demand from other countries, especially from members of the European Community, to implement at the country’s laws supporting of non-traditional people. It would be better to direct the efforts to reduce infant mortality and increase life expectancy in Central Europe, because sexual orientation is not a cause of the high infant mortality rate or the low life expectancy of people in less developed countries.
    I also believe that events in Ukraine – one of the countries of Central Europe – are a good example for other countries of the continent how it is possible to defend democratic values and protect its national interests through peaceful protest. Despite the current bloody conflict, Ukraine adheres to international agreements and tries to intelligently defend its citizens and the integrity of the country against foreign aggression. That is why I believe that Ukraine is given the chance to upgrade not only Ukrainian, but also European and transatlantic intellectual life, as seen here shared intellectual, political, cultural categories to establish new relationships that can help in the future.

  40. Central Europe – a slogan known to more people of this region and this part of Europe – Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians. For the whole rest of Europe and the world – EASTERN EUROPE (here it would be worthwhile to consider whether the world knows how Europe looks like and whether the people of Earth from outside Europe are able to replace several countries in it lying.). Let us have no illusions that going to the U.S. every passerby encountered will determine the position of Germany or France, while interesting phenomenon we observe only when he hears the password POLAND – eyes become wide open, dazzled by the gleam of the physical as if the acted following dependence, that with the flow of sunlight glare and and confidence he will answer the question …. Well, such a relationship does not exist.
    Lets not get outraged, local colours where there forever. Even geography in its physical dimension varies depending on nationality. Let me give an example: the average European knows the names of the seven continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Oceania and Antarctica. The average American in the USA knows six – without Antarctica. Besides that for them on our Earth only Australia exists. Oceania is lost somewhere in the minds distracted, probably along the lines of its geographical dispersion. Also, since no American sailor reached it, isn’t it only an impression that Oceania exists? Additionally – the average Argentinean knows 5 (five) continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australia. Sociological curiosity.
    Europe – the old culture from which it all began. We do not remember the culture of Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. Europe is intellectual power. Shook almost the whole world – with the exception of China. Other continents weld into one European whole. And what happens at the outlet of the old culture?

    Europe – cultural melting pot. Or maybe a pot of bigos? Lets recall that bigos is a Polish national dish. Delicious, but unfortunately hard to digest. Technology cooking stew: sauerkraut, meat, and everything that we want will fall into the pot. During the long cooking there should become a poetical taste – each product should soak a hint of the other, while maintaining its own overriding flavors. Boil long stirring. It becomes a unity, the whole idea of separate elements. Unfortunately, today’s lifestyle does not allow for long cooking. URGE – slogan of our times. Unfortunately, often limited to spinning in a circle. The metaphor – a movement for the movement itself, unproductive and producing the impression of hard work.
    Returning to the European bigos of Polish coloring ( bigos, a dish that is subjected to a very long heat treatment is undoubtedly every European nation, and anyone lacking time to prepare) – the ingredients do not combine together in spite of the desire. Too bad for the whole of Europe. Fortunately there always will be a brave gourmet, who will try new flavors.
    Poland is situated in the heart of Europe. Even its shape resembles a heart. Think: the heart – the organ, so that the whole body works. The heart – the place of human emotions, love, anger, hatred. After combining these physiological and psychological functions created something called a Pole? Maybe so.
    Poles are emotional – heart on their sleeve. Pure expression. It is true that there are several nations that are expressive in this our Europe, but it is a slightly different type of expressiveness. Pole loves and hates, guests, and complains. But ….is hard working and has a vast knowledge. This part of our physiological definition of the heart of Europe is present in our mentality. Heart, exposed to many dangers, he must somehow deal with. We cannot amputate, a body without a heart? Robot? Avatar?

    Poles provide many topics for jokes. No need to worry about this. The joke uses certain exaggerated features, is used to relieve emotions, to have a better expression about ourselves. On this background, the nation telling jokes shines. Oh, how we are great. Poles also told jokes about a Pole and Russians and Germans. The same psychological mechanism.
    We do not have to prove our greatness – There were in the past, and will be in the future, both great achievements and great failures. But we need to remember that we as a nation were ALWAYS independent, even if only mentally. Do not forget about our identity, because it is the sum of positive and negative traits, it is about our undoubted value. Cultural history proves conclusively: one of the first universities, so far one of the best in Europe, thinkers, scientists, politicians. Always our Polish heart constituted a tasty morsel for the neighbors from the east and the west, and we always sheltered our independence. Besides, our hospitality and tolerance, included in the perspective of many centuries were both cause and effect of our open and absorbent mentality. So now great students, doctors, scientists and artists. With the mind and the soul.
    And the final conclusion, which we really tend to forget or ignore: Polish girls and women – strong, independent and yet very feminine and loving. They skillfully combine mentality with heart. Polish women are independent, they do not bury themselves at home. Their goal in life is to fulfill themselves in many areas, but along the way not only to achieve the goals in extreme ways. This also shows the strength and intelligence of Polish women.
    At a time when every European feels that he is strong by his national identity, there will be no need for arrogance that has one purpose: to convince himself that he is the best by depreciating the behavior of others. Defensive mechanisms will not be needed, and the mind will open up to others. We count on it, but probably we can only dream on…

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