Central Europe aspires to being a centre of civilisation

Anew decade of the 20th century has just opened – one of uncertainty brought forth by the global pandemic and its consequences. But it is also one of hope and opportunities for civilisation’s recovery, and a chance to create a world that respects the principles of sustained development. Certain areas will become centres of dynamic and positive change, and I am certain that Central Europe will be one of them.

Central Europe (sometimes called Central and Eastern Europe) is the area between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, or between Germany and Russia. It is a significant regional entity, and a community of shared fate in terms of geography, politics and economy, as well as in terms of ideas and cultures. But above all, we constitute a circle of common memory. We have had our share of shared historical experiences. We have suffered from totalitarianism, but we have also had glorious experiences over the centuries. The 15th-17th centuries, during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, saw a flourishing of a voluntary political union in a substantial part of the territory – a precursor to the EU of today, which was home to many cultures and faiths and which respected the rule of law, parliamentarianism and democracy. We are carrying lessons from those experiences – both good and bad – into the future as a universal warning as well as inspiration to work towards a common good.

A description of Central Europe’s values is also important. The author Milan Kundera suggestively named Central Europe “a kidnapped West” – that is, a part of western civilisation that found itself under Soviet domination against its will – imperial, authoritarian and unable to manage rationally. It must be emphasised, though, that our commitment to values that have built European culture is not without reflection. We know the high price one must pay for defending them. We are aware that one must cultivate and reconcile freedom and responsibility, rights and duties, individualism and solidarity, the attitude of criticism, innovation and modernisation that describe our identity.

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Πηγή:  thenationalnews.com

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