Thinking Europe on the Edge: A Ukrainian Vision of ‘Europeanness’

  • Abstract:

    The “EU project of Europe” has been facing multiple crises nowadays, the crucial issues would be: 1) the limits of its expansion (the extent of acceptable diversity); 2) penetration by the cultural others, not sharing its “social contract” (migrants’ and refugees’ issue); 3) internal resistance (Euroscepticism); 4) complicated relations with its own frontier of hybrid nature (the USA and Russia as semi-European peripheries of different status). All the mentioned concerns are mirrored in the Ukrainian case that stands not only as a challenge but also as a way out. Within the Ukrainian revolution the idea of Europe and “Europeanness” worked in a twofold manner: synchronically, by unifying society thus reestablishing it on the basis of some new agreements (dignity as a core value, solidarity as the main policy); diachronically, by setting the trajectory of further development and hereby forcing required changes (towards the EU as the institutional embodiment of the imaginary “Europe”). However, it did not regard existing European institutions as a template but rather appealed to the origins of “Europeanness”, thus opposing itself to the distorted versions of “Europe” as well. The paper is aimed at revealing the set of senses attached to the concept of Europe within the recent Ukrainian events, as well as at placing it in the broader context of the current crisis of the “Western civilization”.