The East and the West of Europe still do not understand one another

French writer. Lectured literature, and then worked as cultural attaché in Central Europe and Far East. Author of À pas de velours : mes missions culturelles dans l’autre Europe, Petite Planète roumaine, La Japonaise de Prague, Le Voyage en Pruss. Son of Lucien Louyot, Righteous among the Nations.

‘Is this the Europe its founding fathers wished for?’ Michel LOUYOT asks.

How could Hungary forget that the Treaty of Trianon deprived it of two-thirds of its territory? How could the Czechs forget that they were handed over to Hitler in 1938 without any objections from France and England? How could the Poles forget they were abandoned a year later and handed over to two monsters who had just made their pact? The wounds have not fully healed hence, nowadays, these countries cannot stand reprimands on the part of those considered, probably quite wrongly, as advocates of Euro-bolshevism.

These are the sensations of some inhabitants of the East of our continent, whether we like it or not. It is thus worth paying more attention to such diverse points of view.

Fascism and Nazism were evil spirits of the West. This explains why our intellectual elites long favoured communism. “Those who think differently than we do are fascist.” This preference remains valid. Conservatists, extremists, traditionalists, and patriots are all lumped together. This is what drives them into despair.

In Central-Eastern Europe, it was communism that was the evil spirit. The void left after it was gone was filled by religion and patriotism. Patriotism that can have “nationalistic odour.” But is it our role to issue orders, or should every nation find its own way to democracy? Is this the Europe its founding fathers wished for?

The debate is open. Is there a better place to deliberate on the relations among the European nations than Strasbourg?

Michel Louyot

Fragment of Michel Louyot’s latest book: Le parapluie bleu, Éditions JALON 2021.

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