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15 May 2014

"Does Eastern Europe Still Exist?"

Lecture by Anne Applebaum

The writer and journalist Anne Applebaum spoke at the CCCB about the old concept of Eastern Europe in a lecture that opened the series "The Idea of Europe".

[Original version in english | duration 01:19:10]

On 5 May Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize winner, gave the opening lecture in the series The Idea of Europe, which is to take place at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) every Monday until 2 June. A journalist for Slate and Washington Post, Applebaum gave a lecture titled “Does Eastern Europe Still Exist?” She was introduced by the CCCB’s head of Debates and Lectures, Judit Carrera, and also presented by the journalist Carme Colomina, head of the International Section of the newspaper Ara.

The journalist spoke about the differing kinds of evolution in countries of the eastern part of the continent and how the fact that these “have taken very different paths means that Eastern Europe can no longer be described with one adjective” because it is “not a single entity”. Applebaum recalled that, in general, “the eastern part of Europe has survived the financial upheaval better than the western part” and that “some countries have managed to achieve a total turnaround with their damaged economies”. while also carrying out major political and structural reforms during times of political turbulence. Applebaum also noted that the example of “transformation in Eastern Europe should be the nucleus of European foreign policy” and “ a gleam of hope that Europe can offer to the rest of the world”. Nevertheless, she expresses pessimism about the real possibility that this might happen because she believes that, in Europe, we still do not understand the far-reaching nature of this success. Moreover, in both east and west, the term Eastern European is still being used with the old connotations., Applebaum warned about “the need to reject all stereotypes, clichés and suppositions that have ever been made with regard to Europe and its political geography, for example, the notions of East versus West or North versus South” and concluded by answering the key question of her lecture: Does Eastern Europe Still Exist? “No!” she says and recommends abolishing the term or shelving it for history.

 


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