The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs

Articles from Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter

A Fiery Czech Is Poised to Be the Face of Europe
In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist...
An Open Letter to Officials of the European Union: From a Czech Citizen
Earlier this year, our country assumed the presidency of the European Union (EU). To many of you, our attitude and approach can politely be described as somewhat disconcerting. As a Czech citizen, allow me to give you an explanation. From our birth...
Central Europe Is Not over the Hill: The Long and Slow Transition from Post-Communism to Consolidated Democracy
When the American political scientist Samuel Huntington published a book called The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century in 1991, democracy in post-communist Europe was on a victorious campaign. Communist regimeswere quickly crumbling...
Czech and Global Events from the First Quarter of 2009
* 1. 1. The Czech Republic and Slovakia The Czech Republic becomes the second post-communist state (after Slovenia) to become the EU President. The Czech presidency begins dramatically when a government spokesperson, Jiri Frantisek Potuznik, describes...
Democracy, Populism, and the Political Crisis in Hungary
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In November 2006, Eurozine published an article by Thomas von Ahn analyzing the causes of the demonstrations in Hungary the previous month. Among other things, von Ahn argued that Hungarian opposition [Fidesz] leader Viktor...
Does the Czech Republic Need a Majoritarian Voting System? One of the More Radical Options for Electoral System Reform Is the Transition to a Majoritarian, or Majority, System
The Czech voting system is rightly criticized for its inability to deliver a stable majority government that is capable of making decisions. One of the more radical options for electoral system reform is the transition to a majoritarian system. As...
DOX a Grand Narrative with an Unfinished Ending: DOX, as a Center for Contemporary Art, Seeks to Place Contemporary Artifacts into Unexpected Contexts, to Break from the Conventions of Galleries and Museums, to Display Artistic Creations Not as Symbols, but in Surprising Contexts-To Create a Laboratory-Like Setting for Them
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On the 19th of October 2008, one of the biggest events on the Czech art scene happened since 1989. The massive street advertising campaign that preceded this day was, however, met with a lukewarm reaction from the Czech media...
Editor's Notes
With a presidency as old as this new year, and the worst of the global economic crisis looming ahead, this issue opens with sights set on what is to come. This gloomy forecast will hopefully brighten, however, with Obama leading the United States as...
Electoral System Reform in the Czech Republic
We can see throughout all of Eastern Europe, and especially in countries with majoritarian electoral systems, a tendency to build systems of personal power and limit the standard rules of democracy and constitutional government. Discussions about...
How Free Are Free Markets? "Don't Spend What You Don't Have. Don't Chase Your Tail. Live and Learn."-A Wise Elder
When the iron curtain fell twenty years ago, hope bubbled to the surface in Central and Eastern Europe. And five years ago, the Czechs and their kin joined the EU with great expectations. Now, given the current woes of global capitalism, the promise...
Interview with Paul De Grauwe
"I do not believe that all the blame rests on Clinton's administration. But the basis for this crisis was not laid by Bush--rather, it was laid by previous US Democratic administrations, which promoted the deregulation of the banking system," says...
Milada Maresova and the Absence of Women in Czech Art History: The Least Well-Known Area of Czech Modern Art History Regards the Artwork and Lives of Czech Female Artists
MODERNISM AND THE WRITING OF ART HISTORY Since 1989, the domestic history of art has been concerned with various problems which were previously inconvenient to academic discussions of socialist art history, or which were interpreted mainly through...
Only Forward from Here: The Baltic States and Their Path to Freedom: NATO and the EU Are the Only Such Organizations of Their Kind That Will Guarantee the Baltic Republics' Independence from Russia to the Extent That They Will
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 2004, the Baltic States--Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia--entered the modern structures of the Euro-Atlantic civilization: NATO and the EU. There are, perhaps, no other member countries within these organizations that has...
Perspectives in the Czech Media: An Interview with Ondrej Stindl
I met with Ondrej Stindl at a coffee shop in the district of Holesovice. During the interview, while he may have lit a few cigarettes and drank a beer, he never lost his perspective. Nor, for that matter, his modesty or his self-assured positive outlook...
Put to the Test: Czech Politics in the Global Arena: Over the Course of the Next Six Months, Whoever Cares for the Czech's National Interests Should Pay Close Attention to Their Successes and Failures as They Stand at the Helm of the EU's Presidency
The first days of the Czech presidency were already unexpectedly busy. Any assumptions that the Czech presidency will limit itself to "moderating" as Sarkozy stated were completely dispelled. Just as France was forced to abandon its original priorities...
Rejecting Anonymity and Creating Trust: A Goal for the Czech EU Presidency: The Czech's EU Presidency Holds a Promise of Unknowns-Both Good and Bad
For five years we have been a full-fledged member in this twenty-seven member club. We have been to all the meetings with the highest representatives, we have led debates with heads of state who have been friendly and not so friendly, and we just recently...
Still Secluded: Eastern European Representation in the EU Parliament
In June of this year, the European Parliamentary elections will reveal whether the Eastern European nations have received enough recognition on the European political scene, and whether their "older" partners have accepted them as equal and fair players....
The EU's Roadmap for Gender Equality: A Road to Hell: The EU's Gender Plan Is Not Merely an Academic Exercise in Brussels' "Eurospeak," but a Real Programme with Measures That Will Bring Detriment to Us All
The "Communication from the European Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010" might bring a smile to one's...
The Fight to Save Liberal Democracy Begins Here
The battle lines have been drawn again in the Lisbon debate and we can now see them with a clarity denied to us before the June fiasco, when the "No" campaigners befuddled so many voters with their garbage about sovereignty, abortion and the detention...
The Polar Bear and Public Opinion
Opinion polls are still an integral part of our lives, and we should continue to draw new knowledge from them. With this in mind, I present you with the results of a recent poll, which has some timely information for us. Furthermore, the poll's 3,000...
The Political Task of a Handicapped Presidency: The Global Economic Crisis Will without a Doubt Transform the Political Context of the Czech Presidency
With the slogan "Europe without barriers," the Czech European Union presidency commenced on the first of January and will continue through the end of June 2009. This slogan and the agenda it carries were, however, born before the world economic crisis....
The Prevailing Roots of European Integration: The European Union, Which Today Has a Myriad of Faults, Has Gone through Rough Times and Will Go through More. and Yet It Still Stands on Its Founding Principles
European integration is a reaction to the two world wars, and it reflects the attempt to prevent further wars. In this sense, European integration is mainly a question about achieving peace in Europe. It distinguishes itself from the previous attempts...
The Second Generation
It is unbelievable that as of next year, twenty years will have passed since the fall of the communist regime. It is really unbelievable. Personally, it feels like just yesterday. Nevertheless, I belong to the generation that has lived most of their...