Jacques Rupnik

Nationalism, anti-liberalism and ultra-conservatism mark the political discourse in Central Europe today. What was once referred to as the ‘kidnapped West’ now seems to imitate its former captor. Jacques Rupnik seeks causes for the decline of the liberal consensus in Central Europe after 1989, following the trajectories of some of its major political thinkers.

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Central European responses to the euro crisis have been marked by a total absence of regional solidarity, writes Jacques Rupnik. Differing national situations explain varying perceptions of the crisis’ risks and remedies and can be seen in terms of political lessons learned.

In an interview conducted a year before his premature death, Rudi Dutschke explained to Jacques Rupnik the reasons for the German Left’s failure to understand what was at stake in Czechoslovakia in 1968. “In retrospect, the great event of ’68 in Europe was not Paris, but Prague. But we were unable to see this at the time.”

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Freedom of movement was one of the major achievements of the revolutions of 1989, argues Jacques Rupnik. Now, central and eastern European heads of state refuse to grant this freedom to non-Europeans. But how much longer can they expect to maintain their contrary stance?

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