VILNIUS - On Sunday, intellectuals from Eastern Europe were to gather in Vilnius to discuss integration issues of Ukraine and Belarus into the European community, reports ELTA. Philosophers, historians, writers and intellectual leaders from Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other countries were scheduled to attend the conference ‘We in Europe, or Europe without us?’
“Intellectuals of Eastern Europe have always been leaders of thought who fostered ideas of a united European culture and democracy. This time these people meet in Vilnius,” said Prof. Alvydas Nikzentaitis, chairman of the Jerzy Giedroyc Forum.
When communism was still dominant in Eastern Europe, a prominent Polish intellectual of Lithuanian descent, Jerzy Giedroyc, and his colleague Juliusz Mieroszewski formulated a relevant political doctrine on Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. They stated that independent Poland was impossible without an independent and democratic Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. The forum undertook to organize a meeting relating to the Eastern Partnership.
Prof. Nikzentaitis noted that both Lithuania and Poland are independent and democratic. In the last two decades the two countries changed drastically as a result of cooperation with other EU states, and not only in the economic arena. Close ties to states with deeper democratic traditions made our societies more open and democratic, compared to the days of early independence, he said.
The conference was to focus on the present and future of Eastern Europe, highlighting not only the need of cooperation but also new forms of relations between current and potential EU members.