Embassies of the Visegrad Group and the Slovenian Embassy in London had organized the Central European symposium named Beyond the Old and New Europe in the premises of the prestigious University College London (UCL). The symposium dealt with three topics - economics, politics and culture.
The opening speech Europe and its Future was delivered by Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer. The conference was enriched by the presentation by Robert Pynset, Professor of Czech and Slovak literature at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies.
The panel devoted to the political participation of citizens, especially the youth, was moderated by Edward Lucas from weekly The Economist. The discussants included sociologist Martin Bútora, Czech journalist Jan Macháček, István Stumpf of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and Tomasz Zarycki of Warsaw University. “Accountability and corruption are Slovakia’s and CEE’s crucial problems,” said Martin Butora in his paper. He spoke also about the functioning of NGOs and other actors of civil society and emphasized the role of Visegrad countries in maintaining, cultivating and expanding the space of liberal democracy.
Martin Bútora spoke at the UCL about the participation of citizens in public and political life.
Participants of the symposium in the auditorium of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. From the left: Branislav Hochel from Comenius University (UK) Bratislava, Robert Pynsent, Jan Macháček, Jan Fischer, István Stumpf and László Csaba from Central European University in Budapest.