Central Europe through the lens of language politics : on the sample maps from the Atlas of language politics in modern central Europe
Title: Central Europe through the lens of language politics : on the sample maps from the Atlas of language politics in modern central Europe
Citation: Sapporo : Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University, 2017, Slavic Eurasian Papers ; No. 10
During the 1980s, Central Europe re-emerged as a concept of socio-political analysis in samizdat publications brought out in the region when the Cold War division of the continent into Eastern and Western Europe still stood fast. This concept of a newly found self-definition among Central Europe’s literati and dissidents was brought to the wider attention of the West in 1984 by the Czech(oslovak) writer Milan Kundera in his seminal essay published in the New York Review of Books (Kundera 1984). To some it was a revelation that Central Europe could be a world unto itself, while others criticized this concept as a political delusion. More nationally-minded critics also saw it as a tool for a potential renewed German domination over the region. They reiterated how during the First World War Mitteleuropa had been a blueprint for building an economic-cum-political bloc in Central Europe under the joint control of Germany and Austria-Hungary (Naumann 1915). The breakup in 1989 of the Soviet bloc gave a lease of political reality to Central Europe. However, following the 1993 founding of the European Union (EU) the region’s freshly postcommunist states applied for membership in this union, seen as a synonym of the West or, more exactly, of Western Europe. The Central European wish to join the European Union was a desire to become part of Western Europe. The curiously changing membership of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) vindicates this view. Founded in 1992 by Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland, the original member states promptly left it when they joined the EU in 2004. Nowadays, CEFTA embraces Albania, Moldova, and the post-Yugoslav states that have not joined the EU yet.