The year 2014 marks twenty-five years since the end of Communism in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) and ten years after the enlargement of the European Union into the region. To mark this event Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe is planning to hold a conference on 22-23 November at Warsaw University entitled ‘Crises and Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe’.
These anniversaries are significant landmarks in the history of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the continent as a whole. However, even more importantly, they occur during a time of intense economic and political difficulties in Europe. The economic crisis has brought a prolonged economic downturn that has worsened the living standards of its populations and brought political uncertainty and instability. The crisis has hit CEE particularly hard, shaking the neo-liberal economic model that has dominated over the past quarter of a century, and sparking a wave of instability as well as resistance that has spread throughout the region. The most notable events have taken place in Ukraine from November 2013 onwards but we have also seen significant unrest in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina among others. On the other hand, in some countries such as Poland and the Baltic States neo-liberal commentators have claimed that a relatively strong economic recovery has taken place which shows the strength of the region’s economic model.
In 2009 we organised a successful conference in London on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of Communism. We hope our 2014 event will provide a forum for bringing academics and activists together to discuss the current economic and political climate in the region, look at how progressive social and political movements are responding to it and map out alternatives to the neo-liberal order.
Among the areas that we plan to discuss at the conference are:
• Economic crisis and alternatives
• The role of social movements in the region
• Gender and feminism
• Historical politics
• Migration, multi-culturalism and the struggle against racism and the far-right
• The nature of left parties in the region
• Ecology and the environment
• Welfare and poverty
• Ten years of European Union membership
• The balance sheet of the transition from Communism
• The geo-political context of Central and Eastern Europe.