Andrei Plesu: The Anti-European Tradition of Europe





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Published on Jun 12, 2017

The bad news, on everybody’s lips, is that Europe – and more specifically the European Union – is in crisis, a crisis that could well prove to be the first step leading to its dissolution. With this in mind, we will try to come up with some good news, even though not unequivocally so: „crisis” is a constitutive concept of Europe! The first failure of our „common home” was the splitting of the Roman Empire into a Western and an Eastern part. Rome split from Byzantium, Catholicism from Orthodoxy, Protestantism from Catholicism, the Empire from the Papacy, the East from the West, the North from the South, the German world from the Latin one, communism from capitalism, England from the rest of the continent. The specter of division is what Jacques Dewitte described as „the European exception”. We are the ones who invented colonialism as well as anti-colonialism, we invented eurocentrism as well as its relativizing. We are, it would seem, well equipped to assimilate, work through and take advantage of our own anti-European tradition. Might that be “good news”?

Andrei Plesu is a Romanian philosopher, essayist, journalist, literary and art critic. He has been intermittently involved in politics assuming the roles of Minister of Culture (1989-91), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-99) and presidential counsellor for external affairs (2004-05).

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