Fifteen years after the EU’s biggest expansion, Central Europe still doesn’t feel part of the club. The bloc can hope to survive the many forces trying to tear it apart only by repairing its fraught East-West relationship.
Despite Brexit, the rise of populist movements, and lack of a strategic outlook, countries still queue to join the European Union.
Many of the claims about the EU’s East-West divide do not stand up to closer inspection. But like most relationships, it still needs careful attention and engagement.
Elections in three very different countries share a common desire to change the status quo.
Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t do himself or his country any favors by accusing Poles of cooperating with the Germans during the Holocaust.
U.S. policy toward Central Europe is driven by a blend of mercantilism and great power competition, with a dash of U.S. domestic politics. It also opens opportunities for cooperation with the EU.
Europe’s newest member states can do much more to shape the debate in the EU. Forging alliances with their Western counterparts would be a first step.
To stem the populist tide, liberals have to avoid falling into the trap of bashing Central Europe.
The rift between Western and Central Europe runs deep. It is the result of different definitions of what the EU is and what it should be.
The populist vision is rising in Europe. To respond successfully, liberals need to expose its flaws and offer new approaches to economic insecurity and social change.