Jirí Pehe

The welfare state as prop for capitalism? This time-honoured communist critique is too catagorical, argues Jir Pehe. Any credible approach to reforming capitalism entails not attacking the welfare state but supporting its extension on a global scale.

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22 August 2006

A toothless dog

The Czech government is facing a crisis after the collapse of the coalition between the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, and Greens formed following the parliamentary elections of June 26. New coalition talks are underway between the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats, the runners up in the election. But the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM), which came in third place with 13 per cent, has been sidelined from all coalition talks. Politologist Jiri Pehe asks why the KSCM attracts votes despite subscribing to an ideology that is clearly unfeasible.

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Bulgaria and Romania’s Christian Orthodox tradition highlights the difficulty in creating a single Christian identity for Europe. A broader Enlightenment tradition of human rights and democracy needs to form the backbone of a European culture. This leads to the inevitable question of whether countries that adhere to such values and institutional norms, but are not geographically part of Europe, are also to be considered European.