Many Western European observers look East with a trepidation that recalls the height of the Cold War. East European societies are indicted for not being in line with the democratic norms of their more advanced cousins in the West. They are depicted as ‘illiberal democracies’, chauvinistic, xenophobic, homophobic and reactionary. A culture war has erupted, with dark forebodings about a new totalitarianism. But do fears about the ‘East’ mirror anxieties held closer to home? Is the apparent East-West divide as much about tensions that exist within the societies of the West as about geopolitics?
Speakers include: Joan Hoey, regional manager, Europe, Economist Intelligence Unit; editor, The Democracy Index; Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna; Dr Łukasz Pawłowski, managing editor and columnist, Kultura Liberalna; Peter Ungar, Hungarian Green Party councillor, second district, Budapest. The chair is Sabine Beppler-Spahl, chair, Freiblickinstitut e.V, CEO, Sprachkunst36.