PRAGUE - Perhaps it is the experience of a man who endured forty years of Communist rule, and the Nazi Occupation before that. Maybe it is the experience of inhabiting a country in the center of Europe, a place which has for centuries been a crossroads of Europe’s spiritual currents, geopolitical interests, and confrontations. Perhaps all these factors, combined, led me to the conviction that Europe is one political entity whose security is indivisible.
The idea that there could forever be two Europes - one democratic, stable, prosperous and integrated; one less democratic, less stable, less prosperous and isolated - is mistaken. It is as if one part of a room could be heated and the other kept cold. There is only one Europe, despite its diversity. Any weighty occurrence provokes repercussions across the continent.
If Europe is to become one, if the European Union is to take in the new postcommunist democracies - which is in the interest of all Europe - a number of vital tasks must be undertaken, within the new democracies, as well as, in the European and Atlantic communities. To begin, Europe must foster community in the postcommunist countries by restoring civil society.
For a living society cannot be restructured from above. Thus Europe must help its new democracies to become an organic part of a shared Continental commitment to a deepening and advancement of civil society. The more diverse and interconnected European civic structures become, the better equipped the new democracies will be for membership in the EU and the more stable they will be as States.