Timothy Garton Ash has asked me to participate in discussion started by him on the “story of Europe”. First of all I must say, that Europe really needs new narrative, its own story. We must not create new myths or common story for “one European nation”, it is actually necessary only to gather the stories of all European nations to find actually how similar we are. Starting from the build-of Europe, followed the birth of Christianity all European nations have gone –sooner or later – through more or less similar stages, starting from chivalry and feudalism, followed by reformation or counter-reformation, enlightment, national movements, birth of national states, industrialism and modernization, liberal democracy, fight against totalitarianism. Only dividing point in this line is that when Western-European nations had experienced only one type of totalitarianism – Nazism, then the “new Europe” is having its experiences not only with Nazism but with Communism as-well. Communist dictatorships and crimes of communism must be treated und condemned at the same way what has happened with Nazism. When it is not happening, it will be very hard not only create common understanding of Europe but to fight against negative tendencies in new Europe and in new neighboring states of European Union. You can only imagine how the developments in “old Europe” had been, when Nazism and Fascism have not been condemned in the way they were.
Second important in European narrative is its success story. We all know European problems and misgivings, but Professor Ash is right, when he reminds us, that Europe has never enjoyed such freedom, peace, rule of law, prosperity, diversity and solidarity as now. Why we are not talking on our victories, why we are hiding them? Europe was the leading force to win the Cold War – it was a great achievement, specially because it was achieved without major bloodshed. We can discuss had it been possible to bring freedom to Central and Eastern European nations earlier, but it is most important that at the end it was done. Why we are not talking how it happened? Why we are not talking on heroes on the both side of Iron Curtain? The next victory is the historical enlargement of Europe. Why we are not talking about this, why we are not describing how the nations of “new Europe” are building themselves up, how the freedom, rule of law and prosperity is developing there.
This is not necessary to create new myths, just tell what the people have seen and experienced. History is always having different angles – but the main story there is the same.