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May 10, 2011

The recently founded "Dahrendorf Circle" aims at promoting a sustainable liberalism in Germany and broadening the range of subjects liberals need to address. As philosopher, political theorist and historian what is, in a maximum of three sentences, your perfect vision of liberalism for contemporary Europe?

Leonidas Donskis: I would envisage a moderate, inclusive, open-ended, and sensitive political and moral philosophy capable of embracing modern sensibilities and cultural differences of Europe. Contemporary Europe`s liberals should address such issues as the rise of antisemitism and xenophobia in Europe without avoiding to discuss the most complex issues regarding migration and failures to accept core European values. They have to defend human rights, privacy, dignity, individual reason, and conscience against the threat of political intrusion in the sphere of human body, privacy, and memory, which is becoming a predominant tendency of present political life in Europe.   

The European Parliament recently hosted business magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates who talked about development issues. During the meeting, Gates mentioned that he would wish for more migration. Do you agree with the arguments he presented in favour of more migration, why/why not?

Leonidas Donskis: Migration is a fact of modern life, no matter whether we like it or not. To intensify and speed up the economic development, we have to be prepared for more and not less migration. Yet it does not absolve us from the burden and the duty of proper cultural integration of economic and political migrants into the society of their choice. As I have written in my new book "Modernity in Crisis: A Dialogue on the Culture of Belonging," we cannot succumb to a naive illusion of reconciling our heterogenous economy with its benefits to a sweet homogenous culture that we are dreaming of. This is not going to happen.     

You are active in the Delegation to the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. How do you perceive the chances that Moldova becomes a member of the EU in the near future?

Leonidas Donskis: It will be a tough game. Much depends of what kind of policy we will develop with regard to Ukraine. Moldova cannot become a member of the EU without such an important and large neighbor as Ukraine.

If you were to convince the citizens of Bavaria in two sentences about why they should come and visit your constituency, what would be your answer?

Leonidas Donskis: They would immensely enjoy a similar cultural setting with an historic role of Roman Catholicism, and also German architectural and literary legacy. Why not come visit a country where Thomas Mann wrote part of "Joseph and his Brethren" and where the discoverer of Troy, Heinrich Schliemann, had his warehouses? Lithuania and my hometown Klaipeda (Memel) is simply unthinkable without major German cultural influences.

As Member of the European Parliament representing Lithuania and its citizens, what major challenge or opportunity does the EU provide for your country or region?

Leonidas Donskis: A major challenge is to overcome the temptation of a small country to think that we are responsible only for ourselves, rather than for the EU at large; and a great opportunity is to learn the principal lessons from the most mature democracies and their civil societies for the benefit of our liberal democracy.

Pasidalinkite informacija apie Leonido Donskio atminimui skirtas iniciatyvas

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