Europe’’s secret name

Photo: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images Give Europe a soul was the motto under which one of the Fathers of the European Union, Jacques Delors, launched a campaign for the cultural consolidation of Europe a few years ago. He was convinced that a common identity needed to be developed which went deeper than the Schengen Agreement and the common currency, otherwise individual interests could break the Union. While his intent was surely as serious as it was honest, the attendant expectations were somewhat naive. For, might one ask whether a soul could be prescribed, like cost saving measures or penicillin? […]

My Hungarians

Photo: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters Forty years ago I celebrated my thirtieth birthday in San Diego together with Herbert Marcuse and Reinhard Lettau. The birthday dinner was not very appetizing, red sausages and mashed potatoes, which were served to us in a restaurant called Der Wiener Schnitzel. An elderly man was sitting at one of the tables, all alone, who was also picking at his food. Lettau said that he was a Hungarian who had fallen ill because of his homesickness. A homesick Hungarian writer, whose lines had never been read by anybody, sitting in a depressing fast-food restaurant in […]

Europe and the Nation-States

Photo: Arno Burgi / EPA Europe: A Shared Subject? Can we say that the European Union is gradually turning, by fits and starts, into a new kind of community of nations? Is there a many-headed, thinking being by that name seeking its own portrait, its own determining values? I think so. Nowadays we are all learning a new version of ourselves, discovering what it means to be citizens not only of our own countries but of the EU at the same time. What is novel about our new situation, compared to how we have seen ourselves in the past? Is […]