Central European Forum 2018 / Programme



V-Klub, Námestie SNP 12, Bratislava

19:00 Opening

Miklós Haraszti (Hungary)

19:15 Something rotten

Something that seemed until recently unimaginable in the European Union has now happened. First in Malta, then in Slovakia and, most recently, in Bulgaria: three brutal murders of journalists who uncovered links that were intended to remain unseen. Investigative journalists are the present-day martyrs of democracy, as its edifice crumbles and the interests that corrode it rise to the surface. Is Europe facing a new synergy between organized crime, corruption, oligarchs and economic elites? What makes governments vulnerable to their impact? What can we do about this?

Paul Caruana Galizia (Malta) – Misha Glenny (Great Britain) – Sławomir Sierakowski (Poland)

Moderator: Zuzana Wienk (Slovakia)

19:25 Something solid

In Poland as well as in Hungary a key factor in the disintegration of democratic institutions has been the battle concerning the nature of the constitutional court, in other words the constitution. A few weeks ago, out of the blue, a similar situation arose in Slovakia. A democratic society needs a more thorough discussion of what constitutes genuine guarantees of its freedom and the principles that must prevail – a discussion that ought to be not just about the constitutional court itself or its importance, but also about why we really need this freedom to be enshrined in the constitution.

Bernhard Schlink (Germany)

Moderator: Martin M. Šimečka (Slovakia)



The Old Market Place, Námestie SNP 25, Bratislava

19:30 Svetlana Alexievich: The first Honorary European

Second-Hand Time  

Extract from the book (in Slovak translation)

Ingrid Timková (Slovakia)


Peter Balko (Slovakia)

19:50 Hoping against hope

Discussion with the audience

Could the imperative of truth and love be, in fact, futile? Why do echoes of the 20th century still inflict pain, especially in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine? 

Svetlana Alexievich (Belarus)

Moderator: Natalie Nougayrède (Great Britain – France)

21:10 Let’s demand the impossible! 

What options are there for democratic society today? How can it choose between the cynicism of corrupt political elites and the cynicism of the populists? How did the democracies that grew out of the revolutions of 1989 stop being decent? Why are Western democracies also losing their decency? Europe needs a mobilisation of citizens but also a mobilisation of ideas and imagination. Solutions that twenty or thirty years ago were regarded as tried and tested and inevitable are no longer sufficient. But how do we go about finding new ones?

Ivan Krastev (Bulgaria) – Édouard Louis (France) – Timothy Snyder (USA)

Moderator: Michal Havran (Slovakia)



Astorka Korzo’90 Theatre, Námestie SNP 33, Bratislava

16:00 Standing up against hatred

Are our enemies our fellow human beings? What is the best way of dealing with them? Should we mobilise and demonstrate against them? Or should we sit down with them for a cup of coffee and a chat? These are the questions a young activist and politician who survived the Utøya massacre tries to answer.

Erik Kursetgjerde (Norway)

Moderator: Chris Keulemans (The Netherlands)

16:40 Decency as a dream

2018 has been the year of the great mobilisation of citizens – unprecedented in Slovakia – against corruption and against the entanglement of power with crime. How can the mass rallies and marches be transformed into a pathway to a decent, functioning democracy? What is the positive alternative to the absence of decency in the powers-that-be?

Marci Shore (USA) – Mikuláš Minář (Czech Republic), Radu Vancu (Romania)

Moderator: Chris Keulemans (The Netherlands)

18:00 Overheated humanity

The continuing and accelerating warming of the atmosphere is directly linked to the overheating of social and mental processes. What are the specific links between them and how did they arise? How is this acceleration connected with the explosions of hatred and its ideological forms?

Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Norway)

Moderator: Chris Keulemans (The Netherlands)

18:40 A new hatred?  

Is it really new? Is the rise of aggressive or, indeed, insane ideologies in Europe – caused by corruption as well as the politics of fear-mongering – the result of the general process of acceleration? How can this trend be stopped? In 1968 our parents had hope, even if they were demanding the impossible. What can we hope for in 2018? Is there any hope left?

Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Norway) – Bożena Keff (Poland) – Gábor Schein (Hungary)

Moderator: Chris Keulemans (The Netherlands)




The Crossroads Puppet theatre, Skuteckého 14, Banská Bystrica

20:00 The age of dislocation 

About the accelerating dynamics of global processes that affect the shape of democracy, how it is reflected in our lives and how to hold on to the last vestiges of justice and human dignity.  

Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Norway)

Moderator: Radoslav Sloboda (Slovakia)

The event will be combined with the launch of the book Rok protestov (The year of protest), presented by Grigorij Mesežnikov and Tomáš Gális.