Politics of Culture, Culture of Politics: Europe in the 21st Century

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Politics of Culture, Culture of Politics: Europe in the 21st Century

>> John Haskell: Welcome everybody, I’m John Haskell, Director of the Kluge Center Let me introduce Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Bulgaria, Lubomir Grancharov Welcome [ Applause ] >> Lubomir Grancharov: Thank you very much, thank you for organizing this event, and thank you for the invitation Good afternoon everyone It’s a great honor and a real pleasure for me to open this event and to speak in front of these distinguished guests, and to open this event with participation of Ivan Krastev, who is one of the most prominent experts on Balkan and European affairs He’s also a chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and a permanent fellow at the Human Science Institute in Vienna He’s the first Bulgarian to be our chair, a Henry Kissinger chair at the Library of Congress in foreign policy and international relations This event is cohosted by the Bulgarian embassy in Washington DC and the delegation of the European Union, and it is also a part of the month of European Culture, which highlights the culture of the 28-member states of the European Union It is even most important that this is happening today, because today’s the 9th of May, and as you are aware, this is Europe Day Probably many of you know this, and on this day, we commemorate the declaration of then Foreign Minister, French Foreign Minister Schuman, who announced in the declaration and proposed the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community And that was one of the first endeavors, which led to the creation of the European Union as it exists nowadays So, I’m really looking forward to the conversation Thank you once again to John Haskell and Travis, who organized this event, and thanks once again [ Applause ] >> John Haskell: Thank you I want to point out that we have been proud to have Mr. Krastev in residence here at the library He is the first Bulgarian, as pointed out, to be the Kissinger Chair in International Relations and Foreign Policy He has set up events, done a lot of writing, and has become a real force here in his extended residence in Washington The Kluge Center here at the library is proud to cosponsor the event with the European delegation and the Embassy of Bulgaria At the Kluge Center, we bring renowned scholars into residence to do research in the library collections and project and promote cutting-edge scholarship, addressing important public questions and events just like this one Let me say one or two other things about Mr. Krastev that haven’t already been mentioned He is, as probably a lot of you know, a regular columnist in the New York Times I recommend all of you to hit the archives if you want to know what’s been going on lately in Europe, and follow him going forward He’s the author of Democracy Disrupted, The Politics of Global Protest That’s in your program, but he’s also the author of — well, he’s completing a book project here at the Kluge Center in the library with Stephen Holmes, and the title, I think, is The Light That Failed Are you sticking with that title? >> Ivan Krastev: Yeah >> John Haskell: So far? Yeah? Okay He’s open to suggestions I think >> Ivan Krastev: But that’s not [inaudible] >> John Haskell: Yeah So, let’s begin the conversation A little background, because, you know, a lot of us have been reading you in the New York Times, and we don’t know anything about you I happen to have a little more insight, since you’ve been down the hall from me many of the last few months here at the Kluge Center Where were you educated? Who inspired you? What got you interested in politics in Europe? >> Ivan Krastev: So, thank you very much First it was real privilege and pleasure, and the pleasure was even more than privilege being part of the Kluge Center It was absolutely amazing, and if was not for the fellowship, this light that was fading was never going to be there probably They’re not going to be light at all Secondly, about these personal stories, you know, Bulgaria is an Orthodox country We are not famous for confessing The difference between the Catholics and the Orthodox is that Catholics confess in church

Orthodox only in police and only after being interrogated But saying this, in an important way, I do believe that they represent something that you’re going to call the generation of 1989 I was born in 1965 in a small town in Bulgaria, Lukovit, which probably nobody you know, but I have spent most of my life in Bulgaria until 1989 I was the last-year student in the Sofia University, basically graduating philosophy And this was a very interesting time In fact, the late 1980s was extremely interesting time in Bulgaria First, it was very much intellectual The changes that started in the Soviet Union were extremely important Basically, people reading and talking differently Sophia University in 1980s was very different than the 1950s There was a very important change of generation of professors, and others And from this point of view, we have been probably the luckiest generation, from this point of view And then, in 1991, I was also very lucky to get a fellowship to go to Oxford on one of the [inaudible] fellowships So, we have been together with current Hungarian Viktor Orban there, and basically stayed for a year in St. Anthony’s College And then, a person who had a very strong kind of an academic influence on me was the then warden of the college, the German professor, Ralf Dahrendorf And Dahrendorf was quite important because I do believe, 1989, 1990, 1991, it was very different being East European I don’t know how it was in Washington, but in Oxford, [inaudible], because then everybody was interested in Eastern Europe Now it’s very different I remember then when I was in Oxford I was complaining to a famous German professor I said, listen There is something very unfair In the last 10 years, you’re going to have at least 20 dissertations in Oxford being defended on Poland, and you don’t have a single one on Bulgaria And he looked to me very kind of surprising and said, “But do you know what? Poland is a career Bulgaria is just a hobby.” [ Laughter ] And from this point of view But there is this kind of an excitement that we had the feeling that what we have been doing was very important Intellectual, also, for me was very important A person that I have met only once, and he was very much in his late age, and this is the German-American social scientist, Albert Hirschman, and I have been very much kind of influenced by his writing and work But I was one of the luckiest person to meet really very interesting and kind people, and even the fact that I was here, this luck of mine continues >> John Haskell: So, you mentioned 1989, and I know in your writings, you cite that is a key turning point in Europe Everybody knows that, but you talk about it in a way that is certainly not as hopeful as it seemed at the time What do you mean? Why did things go sour? >> Ivan Krastev: There is — because last year in the summer, the [inaudible] Foundation did a big study in all EU member states, and they discovered that nostalgia is one of the major kinds of feeling that we have Sixty-seven percent of Europeans declared that the world was better before, and everybody — this level of nostalgia was as kind of popular among those who are in their late 30s than in their late 70s The only problem was when before? And we started discussing — there is a very famous Bulgarian writer, Georgi Gospodinov, who is now working on a novel, and the plot of the novel is the following European leaders cannot agree on the common future So, they decided that we should agree in which year we want to go back But the only story is that we should basically find the year in which everybody’s going to live in their own country, because some years that have been good for some were not so much good for others And paradoxically, I do believe if you’re going to have such a plot, the EU we are going to come with is going to be 1989, not because it was the richest, but because the level of hope was very high everywhere And from this point of view, what we’re doing in this book with Stephen Holmes, which we finished and which is going to be published by Penguin in October, is very much trying to look back and to try to see why these great hope and expectations basically look very differently when you look from this 30-years perspective And one of the major arguments which we’re making in the book is that if you go back to famous [inaudible] history,

the end of history was also the age of imitation In a certain way, what was important for the revolution of 1989 was that the keyword of 1989 revolution was normality People said we don’t need new ideas anymore We basically want to get a normal life, and the normal life was the life in the West But this idea that basically the future is going to be simply imitating the West has [inaudible] important impacts that we now start to see differently The first is when you imitate somebody, it means that you basically accept your own inferiority So, if the world before was divided between democracy/authoritarianism, in 1989, it was divided between the imitated and the imitators And the role of the imitator is a very strange one, because on one level, you want to be like somebody else, but on the other, very fact that you want to be somebody else creates a problem for your own identity, and I don’t know if this is one of the stories that you see in Central and Eastern Europe these days Part of the problems that we have are very typical for the second generation of migrants in Europe, where the first generation goes It’s very much excited about being integrated in other communities, but the second generation said, what about me, about my tradition? And plus, the model is there and all the time is telling you how well you’re doing The second thing which is important was that after every revolution, there is a major movement of people Go back to history, but normally this is the defeated party that is leaving Go back to the French Revolution, and you’re going to see the white French leaving Go back to the Russian Revolution, and you’re going to see the white Russians leaving The paradox of 1989 was that it was the liberal revolution, but the first to leave the country were liberals for very kind of a natural reason Because basically, revolutionary wants to live in the future, and the future was just next to you in space So, if the future of Poland is Germany, why do you wait, basically, Poland to become like Germany when you can go to Germany You can go work, study, doing things and coming back and forth So, I do think this is very important, but it has one important side effect, which is probably the least discussed thing about the last 30 years concerning Central and Eastern Europe With the exception of the two Central and Eastern European countries one of the important things that happened to Central and Eastern Europe was a major emigration of people from the East to the West Depopulation of Central and Eastern Europe is something that I do believe is something to be discussed in the years to come, and this was not very much a part of our analysis Just to give you some figures in order to understand what I’m talking about For these last years, and particularly after our countries into the European Union, and don’t forget opening of the borders is the best thing that happened if you’re going to ask people what is the most important thing that has changed? But as a result of it, the Baltic Republic has basically lost almost 1/3 of their population Bulgaria lost between to 20-25% of its population Just between 2007 and 2017, 3.4 million Romanians have left the country, and 70% of them are younger than 40 Just for the last three years, 10,000 medical doctors has left Romania Why am I giving you these figures? Because on one level, you have this opening of the borders, and people basically see the possibility to travel, and all of us, the very fact that they’re here for the last 10 years I have been teaching in Vienna, is part of this openness From the point of view of the people who are there, this major exodus of people has three important consequences to be taken seriously One is economic This is a major change in the labor market, because we’re talking about the small societies, aging societies It’s one thing if you have eight children, four of them to emigrate It’s totally different if you have one or two children So, as a result of it, you come with the situation in which in many more countries these days, basically, you have a major shortage of labor The second thing that happened is that, and this is also economically important, not simply people are leaving But all the money that had been invested in the education has been leaving with them So, this kind of a transfer of money from the East to the West An Italian colleague of mine, basically, he’s been calculating that we are talking about 200 billion euros for these 30 years, the money that had been invested in the education of the people that have left

>> John Haskell: Do people in Western Europe who, you know, we’re looking to promote, of course, liberal institutions, did they do anything wrong? >> Ivan Krastev: Listen — >> John Haskell: Could have done anything at the time to have made a difference, or was this something that couldn’t have been anticipated >> Ivan Krastev: The most important thing is that this is part of the paradox of the European Union European Union is in crisis not because of its failures, but because of its successes, honestly speaking Opening of the borders, creating the single place, the possibility that people can travel and be together, this was the success, but the success always has two sides And from this point, even politically, when people are saying what happened to liberal parties? Where are the liberal voters? They in Berlin They in Paris Look at the Romanian elections in which the Romanian president was elected four years ago simply because 300,000 Romanians living out of Romania disproportionately high voted for him So, this is — and this is the paradox The paradox is that the best and the worst is the same People can talk failures here and there for sure Probably certain type of the policy could be different, but I do believe in this is the different in our book, basically that many others, which are trying just to see where exactly was the failure? It was slightly more complicated, because the success, all this movement, was very much, in itself, getting close to part of the self-destructive characteristics that we see in which we basically experience is this For example, we cannot say that, for example, the West was pushing Eastern European societies to imitate it It was a kind of demand for imitation, but this was basically, as they say, this is how we want to organize our society, but it does not explain the fact that, of course, at some point after for 10, 15 years you expecting to start to live like the Germans are French It didn’t happen Then people start asking totally different questions Why didn’t it happen? What it worked this way or that way, and this creates resentment And of course, this resentment is different from countries to countries, but my major argument is people are now trying to explain many of the problems, particularly with a certain type of a liberal turn in some of the Central and East European countries They try to find the economic explanations, and listen, the economy is very important Of course, there are losers and winners in any economic development, but if you just look at the economic statistics, you are not going to get Poland and to explain what is happening For the last 15 years, Poland is the best performing economy in Europe They didn’t have a recession in 2008, 2009, 2010 For these last 10 years, the social inequality in Poland has been decreased and not increased So, from this point of view, the classical explanation is social inequality does not work And secondly, everybody who has been visiting the country for these years, this is a very much changed country This is a change country So, if we want to understand what is happening, the economic explanation is not going to be enough Adam Przeworski, one of the famous scholars of democracy, when he was asked how he is going to explain the illiberal turning point, he said, “Theoretically speaking, this should not have happened.” And this is it If you simply go to the level of the institutional performance, on the level of voting patterns, so, obviously, we are talking about something else And psychological element and cultural element are becoming critically important Also, there’s one problem with imitation, which is very, very important It’s one thing to imitate God It’s totally different to imitate your neighbor, and by the way, you imitating society, but the society is changing all the time For example, many conservative Poles are saying, listen, we like the West so much, because in the West, they love God, and they go to church, and this was very traditional society, and now we’re asked, basically, to imitate the societies that are very different And this is also true Societies are changing, and you’re all the time trying to imitate this is like with the iPhones You always should have the last version, because the previous are not available They don’t work So, I do believe this is very important, because there is one joke that I have promised that I’m going to tell, because when we have been discussing here, people said, listen What you’re going to say is not very interesting anyway, so be sure that there going to be one joke And this joke, for me, is very important, because methodologically, I do believe it is important Now with the rise of populism in many places in Europe and outside of Europe people — >> John Haskell: Before you get to the joke, so, Poland’s done really well Have they had less emigration? >> Ivan Krastev: No, listen, the countries that have very small emigration is the Czech Republic, only 4%, and that was trying, for myself, to try to come with the explanation Unfortunately, this is speculation So, I never went on the figures, but I do believe we’re going to see quite high correlations between the level of organization of the country before the Communists came

to power and the level of emigration, and I’m going to give you why it’s part of my argument If you see how easily and how readily most of us basically see going outside of the country as a type of social promotion, this is very similar to some of the things that you can see 60s and 70s, when people have been moving from the villages to the towns So, from this point, you have the previous generation, particularly in the countries with a strong rural population, which have been convinced, and that was part of also ideological, that basically, living in the city, the very fact that you were living in the city makes you more important, basically, than living — because there people who are leaving for economic reasons, and there are people who are leaving just because they want to get a better education, more interesting work So, from this point of view, it’s very kind of also wrong to try to get all the people that are leaving under the same — with the same explanation Secondly, most of the people are leaving because the idea that they’re going to come back Some of them are coming back So, this is a much more important story, but for me, this is Poland that a lot of Poles are leaving, but don’t forget, 1990s were difficult in Poland, with high levels of unemployment A country which also has a relatively low emigration is Slovenia And so, from this point of view, you’re not going to have a correlation between economics success and emigration For example, the Baltic Republics economically has achieved a lot But if you’re going to see to some of the kind of percent of the people who emigrate, you’re going to see a very high percentage So, from this point of view, economy cannot explain only And also, living in a small country, particularly if you’re a young person, you want to have a different experience You’re just trying to — want to try something different, try to see, basically, you have the feeling that you know what is around So, also, for different generations in these 30 years, probably the reason was different And the joke And now comes the joke And the joke is why we should not put all the countries together, and the joke is Swiss joke They’re not member of the European Union, but they have — Europe also concerns them So, Swiss jokes also could be told, and this is a joke about three boys 8, 9-year-old The German boy, the French boy, and the Swiss boy, and they’re discussing where do babies come from In the German boy said, “Do you know what? As I know from my parents, the boys — the babies are coming from the sky, and the parents find them in front of the doors And the French boy started laughing immediately and said, “This is not true They’re coming from the bedroom.” But then the Swiss boy became very nervous, and he said, “Do not generalize It’s different from canton to canton.” [ Laughter ] And I do — I don’t know is it true about babies but it’s very much true about explanation for certain type of political terms in the countries The countries that can end up on the same place, the reasons why they’re there can be very different, and the way they went there could be very different >> John Haskell: So that you brought up the, you know, the point about nostalgia, and recently wrote that there’s an epidemic of nostalgia You described nostalgia as a disease, kind of a melancholy, and you said the epidemic of nostalgia that Europe’s paradox is that Europe’s paradox — I’ll start that one again Europe’s paradox is that Europeans are united in their belief that the world was better yesterday, but they are divided as to when that golden age was So how does that differ by country, or can you dive a little deeper in that? You started into it >> Ivan Krastev: Yeah, no-no, this differ very much by country As part of the big electoral survey that European Council for Foreign Relations did two months ago, and it was interesting to see this kind of — what I’m going to say now for me is very important to understand that this way I see the problem of Europe today European project was very much a project started by societies that fear their past There was society coming from wars The world war was very destructive, and in a certain way, you have political leaders who basically said, we need a future that is not going to basically look like the past What we see in Europe today is very much societies that fear the future There are different reasons for this One is also demography You have a kind of a aging and shrinking populations Secondly, of course, Europe is not as important as it was In a certain way, if you go 50 years ago, 100 years ago, this was going to be a more important, certainly, and this is very important And I’m sure that people who are doing basically European Union know very much about this

After the end of the Cold War and 10 years ago, in Europe, there is a feeling that, yes, we’re not at the center of the world in the way we have been before, but we are laboratory of the world to come The idea of the kind of post-sovereign state, the different level of security based on economic interdependence, this was something that what makes Europeans to believe that nevertheless that we are not the major theater in which the future is going to be decided, but we are really the place where others are heading In the last 10 years, Europeans, basically, we started to ask questions to what extent it’s true If you look around, China, India, Brazil, but even the United States, there is no [inaudible] drive that we believed is there And I do believe all this, combined with the aging population, created a situation in which a lot of people, as I told you, 67% in Europe, start to believe that the world was better yesterday But when was yesterday? If you look to some of the populist parties, basically, you’re going to see part of the yesterday is going to be — and by the way, this yesterday does not even exist, because we like most of the things that we have imagined that they have been there But the idea of a kind a much more cohesive, also much more ethnically homogeneous societies is very much where you’re going to see a lot of nostalgia going on, and particularly in the West This is not a nostalgia for the communist superiority, to be honest Even when people are going, they can like certain parts of it They don’t want the package back, but there are a lot of people on the other side on the left which are going to be very much nostalgic for the progressive decades of the 1990s So, in a certain way, they are very different, but most of them are much more trying to return something that had been dead before, and from this point of view, if you’re going to see kind of the relations to the future, the relations to the future is much more problematic We are not so self-confident about the future I don’t believe this is only a European phenomenon I do believe that you can see also in the United States, I do believe, probably it’s different in Asia, but this is something that I found quite important >> John Haskell: So, let’s look at the elections for the European Parliament that are coming up, and people who follow, in passing, I guess, European politics, a lot of us, we haven’t necessarily focused on the European parliamentary elections They’ve been kind of low-profile, but it’s different this time it seems like So, what’s going on? >> Ivan Krastev: The right answer on what is going on is where? Because the problem is that Europe is big, and the story of the European elections was always that they were much more kind of a national phenomenon When people are voting, they are very much voting in a certain national context Of course, this year’s different for three reasons First, for the first time, the European Union cannot be taken for granted, and to basically walk around and say how important is going to be Secondly, and this is the second kind of a strange story is that not so much the people are voting just on an issue that is central for Europe, but people are much more interested in the other Europeans This is one of the effect of the crisis Paradoxically, first as a result of the financial crisis, Germans became especially a stronger economy, and then, as a result of the refugee crisis, Hungarians and Poles became especially on the German asylum policies And as a result of it, suddenly start to be interested in others, and you start to understand that we are much more related than before And also, what is becoming for the first time a new phenomenon is that there was always a Euro-skeptic and protest vote in Europe Even more on the European elections, this vote is always overrepresented One of the surprise for people for going to say that there are going to be a big rise of the support for the Euro-skeptic parties is not going to be a big rise, because they did well on the previous elections too There is almost 30% of the members of European Parliament which are on the right of the center-right But they in four different parties The Euro-skeptic parties on the far right has never been the unified force They had been an island Everybody basically was fighting Europe on their own context For the first time, on these elections, you have an attempt to have a much more organized and unified Euro skeptic block And at the same time, what is happening is that while this reality, and I do believe that some of the political leaders will try to make their best to come with the Euro-skeptic group being the biggest in the next European Parliament, at least for several weeks, to have the symbolic victory in this But what is also interesting is that two things changed, also, dramatically

When the elections were coming, you have two strategy One coming from pro-European progressive camp, very much articulated by President Macron, and he said, “This is going to be a referendum on the European Union,” and he basically mentioned the European elections to look like the second round of presidential elections in France where he defeated Marine Le Pen To be honest, this is not going to happen like this for a very simple reason As a result of his defeat of Marine Le Pen and as a result of Brexit, in Europe today do have a major European party that is openly advocating for leaving the European Union This is the paradox of the European skepticism Unlike two years ago when you have, basically, 15 parties in Europe that have been asking for the referendums for exiting the EU, the success of Brexit was that now, basically, nobody wants to leave the European Union Only everybody wants to change it On the other side, basically, the strategy of the far right was that the referendum is going to be — that the elections are going to be a referendum on immigration, and to be honest, on the failure of the European Union to do its immigration This is also not going to work, not because immigration is not an issue This is an issue in most of the countries, but there are three things that happened meanwhile First, the number of immigrants in Europe has dramatically declined Basically, for the last year, there are around 120,000 who entered European Union, which is a big entity of 500 million people This is the number of tourists that land in the Athens airport in a single day in August So, this is, by the way, the difference between Europe and America Here the administration talks a lot of immigration, but immigration is increasing In our case, basically, there was a decrease, and this was dramatic, because the refugee crisis was very much created to a very specific fact, and this was the Syrian war The second thing that happened is you do not have a major — in the way you don’t have a major party on the right that is openly asking for leaving the European Union, basically, and the left and center left, you don’t have a major that is advocating open borders Strengthening the external borders is a commonplace, and you are going to see President Macron and others basically also speaking very much about it So, this is a new situation in which you have a much more unified Euro-skeptic block, so called Europe of nations, and they are basically staying Leaving the European Union is not on their agenda, but they do believe that they can take control the union And on the other side, basically, you have a kind of a new pro- European majority which is consisting of almost anybody else, which also, basically, looks differently than it was looking before So, from this point of view, it’s going to be interesting, and I do believe that Europe is going to be different, European Union, than the one we knew for the last 20 years This is not a good news or bad news, because European Union has been changing a lot all the time So, you’re changing But there’s three things that, in my view, change a lot, because I could be wrong, and I’m sure that in the room, there are people who know much more about this than me, but if you look at European projects, there are three different projects there, and all of them kind of succeeded but went to a crisis First, Europe was a postwar project, post-1945 We are three generations after the war, and psychologists always claim that any trauma cannot survive more than three generations Nevertheless, how you are institutionalizing, how your basically teaching people, but certainly, what is also important that because of a much more diverse nature European societies today, when you talk to a Syrian refugee in Germany and you say war, what comes to his mind is not World War II So, this type of a common memory which basically the war means everything for everybody is not true anymore And certainly, European Union was a postwar project in a much more profound sense Europeans, we managed to convince ourselves that military power does not work anymore, at least in Europe The pacification of European mind is one of the miracles for the last 50 or 60 years Europeans can be defined differently, but for centuries, we were not famous for being peace lovers, and then suddenly there was this famous book Where Has all Soldiers Gone? So, it’s not only about military budgets Suddenly, you have a major pacification of European mind, and this is why, for example, the Ukrainian crisis struck Europe so strongly, because we said we know that war exists in the hard Parlimenters, but why in Europe? And then, some of our major assumptions started to be challenged For example, economic interdependence Can economic interdependence be enough? They give the soft power

So, this is a crisis The second European project was post-1968 Europe, and this was very much the Europe of rights, and this was very much connected to decolonization, new generation And the language of rights was very important, but the rights was very much about the rights of individuals and the rights of minorities If you see the new populist parties, they speak the language of rights, but it’s the rights of majorities And very much, basically, you have the phenomena of certain majorities Majority groups, which, for different reasons, could be democratic, political, start to perceive themselves as the future minorities, and the third Europe was the post-1989 Europe, and this was East-West divide And on this, I just want to make point, which for me, is important, because you know that East-West divide was very much also discussed during the refugee crisis where, basically, in Eastern Europe you have a very kind of a hostile reactions to the refugees Nevertheless, that there was not refugees One of the major difference between Eastern Europe and Western Europe, if you look at the map, the ethnic maps, is just put together two ethnic maps, one from the 1900s and one of today In 1900, there were two Europes One was ethnically quite homogeneous, and this was Western Europe, Germany, France The other was very ethnically diverse and culturally diverse, and this was Central Europe, the [inaudible] And then comes the World War II, distraction, expulsion of the population, ethnic cleansing By the way, it was not done by Central Europeans It was done on them, by the Germans, by the Soviets As a result of it, in the year 1939, 1/3 of the population of Poland were not ethnic Poles There was Germans There were Jews There were Ukrainians Now, more than 96% of the population of Poland are ethnic Poles So, suddenly, basically, the difference between ethnic diversity and ethnic homogeneity changed places And they changed places so big, just given two countries which are next to each other with a similar history, Hungary and Austria At the moment, more than 14% of the citizens in Austria were not born in Austria This is a high percent in the United States Fifty percent of all students in the Vienna schools do not have German as a first language On the other side, only 4% of the citizens of Hungary have not been born in Hungary, and most of them are Hungarians being born in Romania who are Serbian So, this type of a different experience, and keep in mind also that when it comes to diversity and differences, most of the Western countries and Western democracies are former colonial empires that have all lot of encounters with others None of East-European countries are; 1968, in the Western Europe was very much about the rights of individuals In Eastern Europe, it was about self-determination and the rights of nations, Czechoslovaks against the Soviets, Poles So, these cultural differences are coming back, and from this point of view, basically, post-1989 Europe, of course, is culturally much more diverse on the level of experience than the Cold War Europe, and I do believe that now we are trying to struggle to reconcile these differences >> John Haskell: So that — so, just a lot of what you said is the demographic challenges or I don’t know if it’s really the way to word — the demographic issues, and away, or animated, by politics So, what’s that say about the parliamentary elections? You know, what matters about the elections? What should we look for in the key countries? You know, to say, broadly, hey, there’s much more interested in it is different than saying like, obviously, you can’t predict what’s going to happen because you say everybody’s a swing voter You can go there if you want, but 70% are swing voters But, you know, why might this matter? >> Ivan Krastev: Okay, let’s first give you the swing voter figures ECFR survey basically figured out the following Fifty percent of the people said we are not voting, which is normal The electoral turnout on the European elections usually is lower than in the national elections Out of this 50%, 15 said they are undecided for whom they’re going to vote Thirty-five percent said we know for whom we are going to vote, but 70% of this 35 said but do you what? We also consider changing our vote And basically, the funny story is that normally, people say, oh, there is a drift from the mainstream to the insurgent parties No, there is — Europe today looks like a kind of a major square of a city in which traffic light starts to work — stopped to work, and basically, cars goes in all directions So, from this point of view, people are looking for change, but they can find change in a very different positions

For example, there was one of the last elections was, for example, you have an elections in Netherlands There was regional elections in which a new anti-immigration party performed very well, and people said Europe is moving to the right And then next day you have an elections, presidential elections in Slovakia, and Slovakia elected the most liberal progressive president ever elected in Central and Eastern Europe for the last 30 years, non-political woman who basically was human rights activist And people said, no, they are moving the liberal side And the third day, you have an elections in Spain, and here it’s the problem of choice What is more important, that the Socialist party double its vote, which means the mainstream party regained support or that the far-right party enter the parliament? So, from this point of view, it’s going to be very much, it’s going to be the war of interpretations what happened on the nights of the elections But there is several countries that is worth watching One is Bulgaria, because Bulgarian Embassy is here So, watch Bulgaria The second and very important country to watch is Poland Poland, politically, at the moment is the European country that very much resembles electorate of the United States It’s a very divided country Basically, I was talking to the mayor of Warsaw who had a panel of 10,000 voters before his elections, which happened some months ago, and trying to see in six months how they are going to change their vote I mean, government versus the opposition Out of these 10,000 people, only 2% changed their vote So, the dividing line between the government and the opposition is really like a front line So, Poland is very important because if the opposition is going to prevail in Poland, all the talk about Central Europe is changing dramatically Because this idea that central Europe is going liberal and so on and so on, you’re going to see that just one elections can have a very strong impact, because after European elections, in Poland, you’re going to have a national elections in the open parliamentary elections and then presidential elections, and imagine, for the moment, that you’re going to have the opposition-dominated government, and, for example, President Tusk coming back and running for the president of Poland Then all the narrative is going to change dramatically You’re going to have somebody else here telling you the story why the right is back At the same time, you have Italy Italy, first, is a very important European country, financially critically important because of the fate of the euro, but also, Italy is politically very interesting because there the mainstream parties basically collapsed in a day Sixty-seven percent of the population in Italy believes that nothing works, neither the national government nor the European Union >> John Haskell: It’s like that traffic circle you were talking about >> Ivan Krastev: Yeah, in that case, basically, the traffic is circling for more of them a day Yeah. At the same time, also, Italy was interesting because in Italy now you have in government taught different type of a populist mobilization in populist parties, one very much coming from the left, Five-Star movement, which was very much based on some of the classical ideas of the anti-austerity movement, which means high participation of people, very much going through the internet, and so on A leaderless movement And on the other, you have Mr. Salvini’s league, which was very much empowered by the anti-immigration reaction of the public, with very strong leader Basically, the only thing that you know about the party is the name of the leader I’m saying this because when you see this, you’re going to see this, you’re going to see that, at least in the case of Italy, the right-wing populism is performing better So, from this point of view, how Italy is going to work, what is going to be the message of Italy is going to be critically important Germany is important because Germany’s always important, but also because it’s not so much about how much are they going to do Because to be honest, people when they go to Germany, now everybody’s fascinated [inaudible] I don’t believe that this is the major story The major story is that if social Democrats are going, really, have a bad result, and if the Christian Democrats are not going to be happy with their results, we can easily end up with a early parliamentary elections in Germany at the end of the year, and this is going to be a major thing And of course, France is important, because I’m not excluding, let’s put it mildly, the situation in which Mrs. Le Pen is going to be the first political party on these elections, which is going to have an important symbolic message, because Mr. Macron so much positioned himself as kind of the visionary, the Europe that is going to come But you know that you understand really how complicated all this is Do you know that when we asked the question do you believe that the European Union work? Do you believe that the national state work? Because many people believe that in Europe there are going to be clash between the nationalists and Europeans, pro-Europeans The biggest group, 38% believes

that neither European Union works, nor the national state works And among the supporters for Mr Macron, more than 60% believe that European Union does not work So, they like the European Union and the weight could be not in the way it is At the same time, and Eastern Europe, which people are going all the time to talk about nationalists being on rise, Poland and Romania of the countries in which the biggest majority of people believes that European Union works and their national government does not work Because people said we like sovereignty, but we don’t want to be left in one room with our own government And I do believe this type of the much more complex understanding of what motivates people where they go is part of why the results of the elections are not going to be so easy to be interpreted, but, and this is my last point This European election is also important because psychology matters, and if you’re looking at the TV screen, and if you have the feeling that all these Euro-skeptical parties that you don’t like much and don’t believe much in the European Union, if they are winning, if you’re a politician, you’re going to say listen, could I bet all my money that European Union is going to stay for the next 15 years? Should I not have a policy to basically hedge against this? Not to time against, but I want to be sure that if something wrong going on, I’m not going to lose everything The bad news is that if all 27 decided to hedge against the European disintegration, the risk disintegration is going to increase dramatically So, and this is my major kind of theoretical argument The biggest risk of European Union is not the political revolution of the anti-European forces This is not going to happen The biggest risk is a crisis based like on the run on the bank When people fearing that others don’t trust the European Union enough start also to withdraw some of their support, because they do believe that the union is in crisis On the other side, the good news is we like to talk about anti-Europeans, Euro-skeptical, particularly in the countries that I know best, in Central and Eastern Europe There is not a single major politician that believes that his country is going to be better outside the European Union Many of them has a different idea how they can play better European Union for their own interest, but if somebody’s going to tell you that Mr. Kaczynski or Mr. Orban wants to European Union to collapse or them to leave, don’t believe that Because most of these people and most of these regimes are benefiting from two things, anti-European rhetoric on one level, but European funds on the other side, and you need both in order to flourish >> John Haskell: One quick last question Then we’ll give the audience a chance to hit you with some questions You know, I don’t want you to give away, you know, the message of your book, the forward-looking message of your book, because then fewer people will buy it, and that’s not a good thing So, without giving away too much, what’s the forward-looking message in 25 words or less >> Ivan Krastev: Yeah, now listen, the book is — it’s a very simple book Very much centered on imitation, and it gets three different stories Basically, there are four chapters We start with the problem of resentment and imitation, but also, we said that there are different forms of imitation Eastern Europe imitated toward the idea to convert, basically, to transform itself It was genuine It was strategic To a great extent, it was successful, but it produced resentment, and we tried to tell why Russia imitated for a while, you know, to survive You go into [inaudible] institutions, and so on, because in the 1990s, it was in a very weak position And then, basically, Russia said, we’re imitating the wrong thing It’s not the institutions We are going to imitate American foreign-policy, and this is very important, because it’s like kind of a reverse engineering, and in reverse engineering, quite often, you imitate something that does not exist I’m just going to give you an example Probably all of you have been — read the famous story about the Russian [inaudible] of General Gerasimov And General Gerasimov said that now there is a time for [inaudible], which reduce information and so on and so on And this is true, but the whole story is the following Gerasimov said this is what the Americans are doing So, this is what we should do They are making counter-revolutions We should make counter-revolutions on our own So, you start imitate, but you start to imitate something that is in your head It does not even exist But this is the problem with the mentation, and this is the message of the Russian chapter When you basically try and make imitation, the major mode of reaction of your foreign-policy, first of all, most of the time, you don’t understand what others are doing I can spend quite a lot of time talking

to the Russian decision-makers They’re never going to see anything that the Americans are doing as being a failure For example, you are telling them Americans failed in Iraq, and they say, no They didn’t fail This is what they wanted [ Laughter ] To destabilize — in a certain way, failure is not an option, and as a result of it, basically, you start to escalate, and this escalation goes because it’s a great extent escalation without a clear purpose For example, one of the stories, people are saying why exactly, basically, they decided to interfere in the American elections Because it’s a status issues To be a great power, I should try to do it, everything that I do if you’re doing to me But as a result of that, many things are happening, and so, from this point of view, imitation, and this was the Russian case, has a far-reaching kind of a foreign-policy consequences And then, basically, you have the United States, as I have an American co-author, and the question was why those that have been imitated started to be unhappy with the world that imitates them And from this point of view, I do believe that if President Trump was with us, he’s going to say in democracy and market, our competitive advantage, where we giving it for free? Because in business, imitator could be your major competitor, because he stealing your competitive advantage, and the last very short chapter, and there is somebody in the room that I even feel kind of fearful of in saying that there is a chapter like this, because we are not experts on China at all But the last chapter was that China was never about imitation For the Chinese was they had been borrowing but never imitating And trying to make the fact that you’re not imitating anybody else kind of a major ideology of it So, from this point of view, we said, listen, we’re in a different world It does not mean that people, governments and states are not going to imitate each other, but we’re entering in the moment in which this one and only modeled that we see from 1989 is not there So, this is the story of why, but the book is much better, because there is a co-author, and he’s a really smart man >> John Haskell: I read the first chapter It’s really good At least the first chapter He wouldn’t send any more of it to me So, will start over here This gentleman had his hand up first Please keep your questions short, because there’s a lot of people, yeah >> Man: sure, sure, definitely So, worldwide, nobody seems to like communism, but I want to ask the panel, the guest speaker, as you know, in Europe, a lot of countries are adopting socialism While you may not call that specifically, but what have been done whole lot like what Karl Marx has described That is, the early part, the early stage of communism What your comment on that? Is the EU moving towards communism eventually? >> John Haskell: Thank you for your question >> Ivan Krastev: EU is moving in different directions, but communism is not one of them, and for very specific reasons Of course, European societies are much more welfare and social states than many other in the world if you’re going to see the level of the social spending in particularly West-European societies It’s much higher Not simply then in the United States and other places, but don’t forget that in European Union, you have a lot of countries that have real life experience with a much more radical version of socialism, so, when it comes to nationalization of industries, when you come basically to this kind of a classical collectivist utopia, from this point of view, this is not the direction in which European Union is going European Union is very much attached to its welfare state, and to my view, for very good reasons The biggest problem for the Europeans is how we can afford this welfare state, particularly with the aging populations and trying to see how it’s going to work But no, I don’t believe that this kind of a radical egalitarian, in a positive communist utopia, is very much there And also, in Europe, you have something — you have it also in the United States Europeans are much more scared about this kind of a big data governance that you see in other places, for example Don’t forget that when it comes to social media, Europeans are much more trying to regulate than anybody else Probably one of the reason is that we don’t have a big champions like China or the United States, but the other is, basically, the social score system like in China and so on, for Europeans, this is not something that attracts European publics on a normative level This is not how we perceive the good society >> John Haskell: This gentleman here has a question >> Man: [inaudible] Has any determination been made about how to handle the border

between Northern Ireland and Ireland and Gibraltar and Spain? Thanks >> Ivan Krastev: That’s a good story >> John Haskell: You avoided the UK >> Ivan Krastev: Listen, UK is difficult Of course, there’s a lot of people thinking about this I should confess I’m not one of them [ Laughter ] But a huge issue, and but I’m going to use this issue to make a much more kind of a broad argument for my own At some point, people said if European Union is going to collapse, and this was kind of a classical nationalistic narrative, Europe is going to be back to the nation states as we know it And then you start to understand that if something going wrong, there is no way to go back For example, is Spain going to survive on its own without European Union? What about the United Kingdom in which basically you see how getting out of the European Union created a problem? And from this point, the Irish border is very much the same on Gibraltar, I do believe a compromise was reached between the Spanish government and the British government and European Union This is part of the deal that we have, probably, there is in the room somebody from the European delegation here who knows much more than me UK is such a shock, particularly for East Europeans There were two things that we had been taught from the very first day, and this is that we don’t know, are the Brits good or bad, but they’re the smartest persons ever when it comes to politics So, the failure of the British elite to deal with Brexit is a really cultural shock Cultural shock for everybody, nevertheless where they stand in the debate about Brexit And I do believe, unfortunately, the crisis of Brexit very much empowered this total mistrust of the political elites in general, because the idea is if the Brits cannot do it, if this is what they’re doing look as a soap opera, what you can expect from Bulgaria, Romanians, and others? And I do believe this is a major issue So, probably because of it, the Irish border is not something that haunts me all the time Let Brits decide it >> John Haskell: I almost forgot, we have a couple over here This lady here right next to you, Andrew >> Woman: Hi, thank you for coming and speaking Do you see the EU growing and accepting member states in the new future, and if so, which states you think are next? >> Ivan Krastev: It’s a very good question It’s a very good question and also not one to be answered easily politically today if you want to be rightly credible As you know, the European Union has been made a very strong commitment to some of the countries in the Western Balkans So, basically, you can expect the next should be the Western Balkan countries At the same time, even seen the last meetings in Berlin, you can see that electorally, I will be surprised in the next five years how easy it is going to be for anybody to enter the European Union This was part of the major impact of Brexit Before Brexit, the question was who is coming next? After Brexit, the question is who is leaving next? So, now, basically, we don’t believe somebody is leaving next, but we are not sure that somebody’s coming next And one of the problem with immigration crisis is European Union before was a very strange political actor We were the only actor with expanding borders European Union was based on hard budgets and soft borders In a certain way, we always said that we are bordering a future member, being Turkey, being Ukraine, being the Balkans The problem with immigration crisis is in strengthening the borders is that in order to strengthen the borders, you should know where they are So, from this point of view, the nature, for example, of the Bulgarian/Turkish border is changing, the nature of the Polish/Ukrainian border is changing, and this is a difficult moment, and from this point, the European Union enlargement was the most successful and kind of in a certain way the most understandable policy of the European Union But obviously, in a short term of time, I don’t know if the European Union will try to find another ways to keep some of the countries nearby joining the European Union at this very moment Nevertheless, four political leaders is saying I will be surprised in the five years if I see any country doing this >> Woman: Good evening Thank you for the lecture My name Katarina I am from Ukraine Recently we had presidential elections with very strange result when comedian with no experience in public sector won the elections What is — what do you think about this? What does it mean? >> Ivan Krastev: So, from this point of view, Ukraine simply prove that it is a classical European country,

which means that protest vote is the one that dominates But from this point of view, we are going to something — I’m not a specialist on Ukraine So, in a certain way, you are going to explain better than me, but there are three arguments, the first, very much, by the way, being connected to what we have been talking before Ukraine is a critical country because also the political choice very much defines the geopolitical choice of the country, basically This is much more contested area than others, and the first thing that not many people are discussing seriously is a lot of people also emigrating from Ukraine If the levels of emigration continue, and if we basically imagine that 25% of the Ukrainian population is going to leave, seeing from which part of the Ukraine they are leaving, mostly Western Ukraine What kind of people are leaving? Mainly younger, better educated This can end up with a totally different electoral body and totally different choices, which can also have a geopolitical consequences Secondly, people were very much inspired by the [inaudible], and then, basically, they have been disappointed, and they have been disappointed by the political class as a whole And they voted for somebody who has one major advantage, he was not part of the political class Seeing, and I was much more trying to see it from also how it looks from the Russian point of view, and in the selection, there is one good news and bad news for Russia The good news is that Ukraine has heroic narrative of the war, epic war between Ukrainian people and Russia, does not stand easily, because when you are in a war, you don’t fall for a comedian You can vote for crazy general, but you don’t go for comedian But on the other side, I do believe Zelensky also very much represents something that Russia fears most Strong protest vote that can be mobilized by anybody, by anybody with no is the structure behind it No clear political ideas, and so on And this happens in politics So, from this point of view, I don’t know I don’t want to make very early judgments I remember an old Polish joke from the martial law period, which probably should applied to Zelensky, and the joke is two Polish soldiers — it is 10 minutes to 10, are walking And as you know, in the martial law, everybody who was on the street after 10 o’clock, you should shoot to kill And they see a person running And one of them took his gun and shot him, and the others said, “But why did you shoot? They are 10 minutes to 10.” And the first one said, “I know where he’s living He cannot make it in 10 minutes.” [ Laughter ] So, I don’t believe we should do the same way Zelensky Let’s give him 10 minutes and let’s see what he can do >> John Haskell: One more quick last question I thought we had somebody over on this, or not? Then this gentleman here gets the last >> Man: My name is [inaudible], born in Bulgaria, and my question is about the mentality in Europe Not so long ago, President Reagan said that, in his last speech, mentioned you can go and work and live in German, but you will never become a German You can go and live in France, but you will never become a French, but the Americans, everybody’s welcome coming here and becoming American With the European Union changing so rapidly, can’t you see the change of mentality in this direction? >> Ivan Krastev: It’s a very good question, and to be honest, it is changing a lot I’m living for the last 10 years most of the time in Vienna The joke is that Vienna is the best place to live in Bulgaria It’s not far away, but also, you can see that societies that used to be very much kind of a culturally totally homogeneous start to open themselves in a different way For example, it’s not like the United States, and is never going to be like the United States, but on the other side, listen, it particularly, because people are moving within the European Union, it’s very different I don’t want to compare, basically, my experience with the Syrian refugee that would go there It’s going to be unfair But at the same time, if you go and walk to universities of some of these European countries, you’re going to be surprised how many foreigners you have and how much in certain professional circles this is done, and how it works So, from this point of view, European Union is very much changing the mentality of the small nation states The difference is that it’s changing the mentalities of some people, it makes it much more difficult for others In biology we know that probably when you see —

imagine that when, basically, you keep your hand between your eyes, and one of your eyes see something that is moving in the other something that is not moving When you ask what you’re seeing, you’re going to report only the thing that is moving Part of our understanding of what happened after 1989 was that we have been seeing only these people that have been moving and changing, but you know that around — if I do believe that my statistics is right, but if I remember right, 40% of the population of France lives, works, and dies not for away and 40 kilometers from where it was born So, from this point of view, we’re trying not to see some of these people, and for these people, the world is also changing a lot And from it, this is very important to understand One of my professors, Guiliano Amato, who was very famous Italian politician, he was also Minister of the Interior probably 10 years ago in Italy And he was reporting about an old lady that for five years had never left her apartment in Rome And she was living in one of these kind of the much more integration neighborhood So Amato went to visit her, and he said, “Old lady, why you not leaving? Are people treating you badly, and so on?” And she said, “No, no, son I don’t have any particular complaints I’m not getting out because this is not my neighborhood anymore The smell is different People are nice, and they’re not nice to me I’m not complaining anything.” But she said it’s different Why I’m saying this? Because we’re normally seeing how the world is changing for people that are moving But for many people that are not moving, the world is changing too, and for these people and part of these people you’re going to see with the mobilization, with the Yellow Jackets and others It’s not simply about incomes It’s about suddenly realize that you went nowhere, but everything around you has changed But from this point of view, Europe compared to the time when Reagan make his argument is a different place You can say worse or better It’s different It depends where you stand politically, but it has changed a lot, and the very fact that you have a Bulgarian on May 9th speaking in Europe as a representative of the European Union, just go, mentally, 30 years back, and this is not possible Imagine where the country was, how it was perceived, and the very fact that you really can have these people coming from a small East European nations, coming and telling you what’s going to happen in Germany or Italy Probably wrongly telling you all this, but the very fact that you have this is an incredible change, and I do believe we owe this change to the European Union >> John Haskell: Ivan, thank you so much >> Ivan Krastev: Thank you [ Applause ]