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The EU’s east-west divide - by Eszter Kováts and Katerina Smejkalova

The west’s economic exploitation and moral arrogance are fuelling right-wing populism in east-central Europe.

We must now fight for the idea of Europe or see it perish beneath the waves of populism.‘

This was the prevalent message before the European elections in May 2019.

The quote itself comes from a manifesto published by  30 well-known and respected intellectuals at the end of January. The signatories, such as Milan Kundera, Adam Michnik, Ágnes Heller and Salman Rushdie, called for a ‘fight for Europe’ and ‘against the … populists’.

They wanted to send a clear signal before the European Parliament elections and recalled Europe’s dark times. They referred to the omnipresent dichotomy of ‘Europe v the populists’.

But repeating abstract European values and using the sledgehammer argument of the Holocaust comes across as aloof and alien in the face of many people’s everyday worries and struggles. The last few years have shown that this often just creates a bigger divide.

Read more at: The EU’s east-west divide • Social Europe

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