2017 is not only the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Throughout Europe, we celebrate other events that had a significant impact on the history of Europe: the 100 year anniversary of the First World War and the Russian Revolution, the 60 years of the Treaty of Rome, the 40th anniversary of the Charter 77… Each of these events deeply transformed the path of Europe in religious, cultural or political ways.
If Pope Urban II. had tweeted „Deus vult!“ in 1095, how many re-tweets would he have received? ‘Following’ and ‘liking’ officials’ social media accounts means permanently carrying the government in one’s pockets. This intrusion into our lives can be compared to paintings of the Annunciation of Christ, often depicting the messenger, Archangel Gabriel, appearing in Mary’s homely room to transmit a message from above. Our secularized world replaces the angel with a governmental official, instead of Virgin Mary listens the average citizen, and in lieu of the white dove (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) flies the blue Twitter-bird with a message sent top-down. But whereas the encounter with Archangel Gabriel – the patron-saint of diplomacy – brought forth deep reflections within the recipient whose much-pondered response gradually formed into a sincere ‘Yes’, success in digital diplomacy is mostly measured in quantifiable ‘likes’, ‘tags’, ‘shares’ and ‘re-tweets’.
With her works on national indifference, Tara Zahra has challenged conventional views of the so-called ‘age of nationalism’ in Central and Eastern Europe. She found that the era of nationalism can as well be labeled an age of indifference towards nationalism. Large shares of the populations responded to nationalism by not co-opting to these discourses. Their stance did not reflect mere passivity, but posed an outright political response. Our dossier at Nouvelle Europe collects various articles that pondered upon, thought further, and by times struggled with the concept of national indifference. While each text was inspired by national indifference, none is repetitive; the dossier instead reveals the richness of application that the term allows.
The erstwhile periphery may now be labelled as central – but at the center of what, in the end, lies that region called Central Europe?
The distance between Visegrád and Brussels is around four times larger than the distance between London and Brussels. But such fourfold aloofness can be overridden if the four were to act together. In any way, the articles here presented show that Brexit and Visegrad are so much intertwined that it pays to dedicate oneself to some background information – and this dossier offers just as much.
“Modern politicians are all the same”, says the Scottish satirist Rory Bremner. Are they really? Apropos of the European and some coinciding national elections, articles in this issue will examine this statement and the truth it comprises. Do today’s voters have genuinely different options between parties, politicians and policies? Choices they can make on a left-right scale?
In 2014, the European Union (EU) enters into its 6th year of economic crisis and therefore also into the 6th year of attempts at implementing feasible structural reforms in crisis countries and finding efficient governance solutions to prevent another comparable disaster from occurring in the future. The elections for the European Parliament have so far received most of the attention, but the European Union will face quite a few tasks well before and beyond that.
May 9th, today is the 68th birthday of the EU. Allow us, then, to honour this institution. After an alarming thematic on the disintegration of Europe, the London team decided to celebrate the European Day by remembering Europe's achievements.
Prime Minister Cameron’s speech a week ago, explaining how – if he is re-elected – he will organize a referendum during the first half of his mandate on the European issue, was an additional hint that the EU might be on the verge of experiencing something very new: an exit instead of an accession, a shrinking instead of an enlargement of the Union.
This 6 November the whole world will be looking at the United States of America to see who will finally win the presidential race. Nouvelle Europe is a think tank dedicated to European affairs, but we think that the American elections matter for Europe too. This is why we have chosen to focus this month’s dossier on the connection between the two sides of the Atlantic.