The Europe ECF imagines extends well beyond the EU and embraces the countries that touch our borders to the east and to the south. Since our beginnings in the 1950s, ECF has been pursuing the idea of a Europe that goes beyond historical, cultural and political borders and proposes new ways of doing things. These guiding principles run through the pages of our new publication Another Europe, which brings together a treasure trove of insights and experiences from partners and participants working with us in the European Neighbourhood over the past 15 years. We take the book as our starting point in a conversation with Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, together with ECF Programme Manager Philipp Dietachmair, who has been running our neighborhood programmes for more than 10 years.
We invite you to dive into this fascinating and much needed conversation with one of Europe’s most respected and knowledgeable political scientists. We have divided the interview into five parts to allow a deeper look and time for reflection on the history of the role of culture in the larger European project.
- In part 1 of our conversation, Ivan Krastev discusses the powerful drive behind the expansion of the European Union and various institutional blind spots he observes when it comes to acknowledging historical and cultural divides. He then focuses on the particular cultural and political conditions of Eastern Europe and Russia where the dissolution of the Soviet Union has led to an identity crisis that was instrumental in growing nationalistic sentiments.
- In part 2, we dive into the issues around the real division between people within our societies across the continent.
- In part 3, we look at the similarities of the many issues across our geographies, through concrete examples from Hungary and Ukraine, and we examine empathy and its possible role in solving many issues.
- In part 4, we explore the possibilities of finding a new language.
- In part 5, we look closely at civil society initiatives across the continent, the danger some cultural actors face in their local environments, and we conclude by evaluating the role of cultural institutions in realising the critical role attributed to culture in the current political context of Europe and its neighbourhood.
Join the conversation on ECF Labs
We also invite our readers to join our brand new lab Another Europe - Samizdat dedicated to the book on our online community space ECF Labs. You can join the discussion on issues around these themes and download more texts about our work in the EU Neighbourhood, as featured in our most recent publication.
Photo of Ivan Krastev ©Marcin Kalinski/PAP