EDITORIAL: Ukrainisation of Central Europe

A creeping “Ukrainisation” of the countries of the region, including Poland, is a greater and much more real threat than the mythical marginalisation allegedly caused by staying out of the eurozone.

All new EU member states (and some “old” ones) are now experiencing dangerous developments such as questioning the pro-Western stance of a given country (especially in the context of expected benefits from intensifying trade relations with China and Russia); the growing importance of domestic business groups (oligarchy) shaping the economic and investment policy of the government in line with their own private interests. Other developments are delegitimizing of political power, connected with justified or unjustified charges of incompetence, cronyism and corruption; political demobilisation of the citizens, who in large numbers refuse to vote in elections and ever more often—on a scale undermining the demographic security of their country—decide to emigrate.

The developments listed above are observed in a greater or smaller degree in all countries of the region, from the Czech Republic to Bulgaria. But as their typical and particularly rampant pathological forms are observed in the Ukraine, I employ the term “Ukrainisation of Central Europe”. Countering these dangerous tendencies requires strengthening the role of the state and improving the functioning of institutions critical for its security.

In international relations the United States will remain a crucial partner. Germany is a quintessentially European country— meaning necessary for the survival of the European project—and therefore no country from our region can now aspire to be its partner of primary importance. But we can increase our weight on the international scene by actively participating in all kinds of initiatives reinforcing the economic, defensive and political potential of the region. Stability and growth of Central Europe should be our clearly defined goal.

Aleksander Kaczorowski

Aleksander Kaczorowski is an editor-in-chief of Aspen Review Central Europe, former deputy editor-in-chief of Newsweek Polska and chief editor of the Op-ed section of Gazeta Wyborcza. His recent books include biographies of Václav Havel or Bohumil Hrabal. He won the Václav Burian Prize for cultural contribution to the Central European dialogue (2016).

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