Jacek Żakowski

    is an influential Polish journalist and columnist for the weekly Polityka and the daily Gazeta Wyborcza. He chairs the department of journalism at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw and hosts a number radio and TV current affairs shows. After working for the Solidarity press centre in the 1980s he went on to co-found Gazeta Wyborcza and served as the first chairman of the Polish Information Agency. He has published several books, the latest being Heart Attack: Understanding the Crisis. „I believe that in order to find a satisfactory answer to the question of what kind of Europe we need and can afford, we have to give some thought to the question of what kind of Europeans we have, and will have, in the foreseeable future. After all, we are talking of a real, physically existing being that is and will be roughly the same as the people who constitute it. Not only intellectuals and high officials but ordinary people. Those who vote yes or no, are interested in public affairs or not, elect wise or stupid presidents or MPs, and who make good use of their civic, political and economic rights – or not, as the case may be. And present-day Europeans mostly fall into the ‚or not‘, rather than the ‚yes‘ category. […] The Union’s powerlessness has pushed us to the brink of disaster. Strengthening the mechanisms of traditional democracy in the Union could substantially improve decision-making processes. However, this is not all that certain in the short term, and it seems counter-productive in the long term. For example, it is quite likely that a personality stronger than Van Rompuy would emerge from a direct presidential election. Would we be happier if Berlusconi were elected thanks to the support of Mediaset and News Corporation?“