European Issues

“Once accession was complete, the European Union gradually lost its capacity to entrench open society institutions in enlargement countries. In its place, a new political form, combining single party domination of the political system, media controls, and rent-seeking corruption began to displace open society as the political goal of the ruling elites.”
The history, achievements and failures of the open society concept re-examined.
“As soon as World War II ended, the European project based on Jean Monnet’s ideas began. It was not just a flight from nationalism but also from the idea of the nation state altogether.”
“The post-’89 liberal cycle has been exhausted. A major reason was that revolutions of 1989 did not offer a new social project but embarked on imitating Western models. In East Central Europe, it meant a triple transition—to democracy, to market economy, to Europe. All three were achieved with the accession to the European Union more than a decade ago. Yet all three are in crisis.”

“In contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, the debate on class politics takes a different form to that in the West—it concerns whether class divisions increased as the post-communist societies transitioned to a market system.”
No other work has linked any country’s communist past with the present using survey data on class and inequality.
“The Warsaw School was initially designed to explain problems of Polish society decades ago. It has since proven useful to explain post-communist society and beyond, including the European Union era and the aftermath of the latest global economic crisis.”
“Currently the longest-running panel survey on national samples of adult population in Europe, spanning 1988–2013 in five-year intervals.”

Titles from the backlist, contemporary topics on top, older themes below:

 “Tribal temptation is still present in many countries. I think this is what is behind the conspiracy to close the Central European University. If this conspiracy succeeds in Hungary, the European project is under threat.”
Quoted from the statement of Mario Vargas Llosa, uttered at a conference on academic freedom.
“One of the problems with the construction of Europe is that only political and cultural elites are aware of its global importance. Many Europeans have not embraced the enthusiasm that is necessary for the idea of Europe. But they receive the benefits.”
“See the minimal effects of the Council of Europe or the European Union putting pressure on Turkey and Hungary.”
“CEU’s experience may be unique but many other universities around the world face much more serious threats to their institutional and legal autonomy.”
“Continental European universities tend to have a very bad student-staff ratio which pushes them down in the overall rankings. They have not kept up with the way ethnic diversity has become part of European societies today.”

 “The Czech Republic was too poor to carry the burden of Slovakia by retaining a common currency. This reflected the Czech perception of Slovakia as an economic burden upon the more developed Czech Lands.”
Some of the brightest Slovak and Czech scholars came together with the explicit goal of comparing Czech and Slovak achievements and failures in the twenty years since independence.
Mečiar’s conduct jeopardized the process of integration into the European Union. “The problem was not so much in the political decisions of the Slovak prime minister, as in his terrible rhetoric.”
“It is ironic that just eleven years after the split, in 2004, Slovakia became the regional leader in reforms, while the Czech Republic was the laggard. As the formerly ‘backward’ Slovakia was lauded as the new Central European tiger, Czech commentators looked on with envy.”
“While gradually closing the gap with Western Europe in material terms, Czech society seems to be spiritually stagnating in feelings of frustration, failure, and skepticism.”
“Ever since the split, relations between the Czechs and Slovaks have never been better. Thus, the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993, like Norway’s secession from Sweden in 1905, may be a good model for other nations who live in a common state but wish to go it alone.”

“EU membership has left East Central Europe caught between two divergent memory politics: the ‘politics of regret’ as a normative model and the politics of national martyrdom (or ‘nationalization of suffering’ as one of the authors has aptly defined it).”
Developments in post-communist memory politics in Bulgaria are discussed in a comparative collection.
“Around the turn of the millennium commemorating the Holocaust in an appropriate manner emerged as a historical cultur­al entry ticket to the European Union.”
“The position of European institutions has been ambivalent: while the post-communist countries’ right to memory has been elo­quently recognized, their memory narratives have not been (fully) endorsed. One telling example is the consistent preference of the term Stalinism rather than communism in European documents.”
“While the European Union has been issuing resolutions to harmonize the pasts of its member states, the Western Balkans has been experi­encing an on-going civil war of memories.“

“The Romanian example shows how demanding the implementation of the complete acquis communautaire is and what enormous efforts were required by legislators, who, during the same period, also had to implement thousands of other legal acts required by the acquis.”
The expansion and institutionalization of intellectual property norms in the twentieth century.
“What the Romanian legislators have ultimately and rather impressively achieved, certainly as the ‘law on the books,’ is a mature and modern example of copyright law.”
“A comprehensive and comparative study of the copyright laws in all the Eastern European countries would show that modern copyright regulations have been achieved, influenced in no small part by the seven EU copyright directives.”

Gorbachev: President Giscard said to me that I must be ready to deal with a United Federation of Europe. December, 1989
Face to face conversations of superpower leaders at the end of the Cold War on a thousand pages.
Bush: That it is in our interest and in the interest of a Europe whole and free and the common European home as you call it. It’s not all that popular a position here at home. April, 1990
And one more thing. I said that pan-European security is a dream. What I meant is that it is a dream today. We made concrete proposals on how to build its structures in order for it to become a reality. We think it is important for Germany to be a member of the European Economic Community. May, 1990
: I think that we have to see the other aspect of reality—the emergence of new centers in the world. In particular, I am talking about the integration of Europe. The northern countries are also eager to join this circle, and some Central and Eastern European countries are making attempts to join as well. July, 1991

Gorbachev: We consider the prospect for forming a vast economic space from the Atlantic to the Urals with a high degree of interdependence between its Eastern and Western parts as real, although not immediate. We have no doubt that integration processes in Western Europe are acquiring a new quality. We do not underestimate the likelihood of the emergence of a single European market in the coming years. July, 1989
122 top-level Soviet, European and American records on the superpowers’ role in the annus mirabilis of 1989.
Yakovlev (to Brzezinski): There are many questions about Europe’s future. What will happen? The European countries will have a common parliament, common affairs and trade relations; the borders will be open. And what will happen with long established bilateral relations between Western Europe and the socialist countries? How, for example, will economic relations between the USSR and Belgium develop further? October, 1989
We should not change the order of the processes. First and foremost among them should be European integration, the evolution of Eastern Europe, and the all-European process, the creation of a peaceful order in Europe. December, 1989

It was the Moscow International Economic Conference in April 1952, when “peaceful coexistence” was first pronounced. With no direct follow-up: Stalin may have viewed a closer partnership with the West as too dangerous.
The volume offers a new, Euro-centered account of the Cold War. The essays point to inconsistencies and inherent problems in the US-dominated narrative of the “victory in the Cold War.”
The bridge-building policy of the USA in 1964 meant “to promote and consolidate Atlantic unity in response to de Gaulle’s blockage of further West European political integration.”
“Nixon felt that he was presiding over the partial dissolution of the American empire. By 1972, he had come to the conclusion that European integration was no longer necessarily in the U.S. interest if the European Community adopted an anti-US trade policy.”
In Italy, “Moro’s foreign policy remained in substance constant, being multilateralism, Atlantic solidarity and European integration his primary goals… Transformation applied to the different dimensions of the PCI’s détente policies: part of the West European communist parties finally endorsed European integration.”
“Giscard explained in a letter to Brezhnev that Franco-German cooperation on East-West issues as well as on European integration issues was not directed against the Soviet Union.”
Mitterrand’s visit to Hungary in 1982 was a symbol to end the Cold War: “Towards the East, it underlines our desire for openness and dialogue with the members of the European Community that is grounded in the most ancient history and that cannot admit its future necessarily broken by Yalta.”

Books on the economic challenges of transition and integration:

On various dimensions of European integration: