If Europe, with its long historic and dendritic development, has common patterns, one might be its heterogeneity. Europe was and is shaped by its different regions and minorities within national borders.
Regionalization in Central Eastern Europe was often suspected of playing into the hands of minorities seeking centrifugal autonomy and thus endangering the respective national entity. There is little reason to proclaim an "end of history" in regionalization, decentralization, and minorities. The developments in Czechoslovakia 1989/90, in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the reshaping of Serbia since 2001 have proved this beyond doubt.
Within the EU there is reason to hope that any changes will be peaceful and achieved through political and social consensus. New trends in EU regional and cohesion policy from 2014 on will have a significant impact. This new policy approach will lead to the motivation of decentralized structures to enter a transnational and transregional dialogue with possible likeminded partners within the EU.
The present volume on regional decentralization and minorities in CEE proffers an open and unbiased debate in the area. The approach links the two issues with respect to the countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, thus incorporating some of the hot spots in recent history.
Stefan August Lutgenau
Stefan August Lutgenauis the founding director of Foster Europe - a Foundation for Strong European Regions. He is a historian, active in the fields of international civil society networking, development cooperation, and human rights. His main areas of academic research include Holocaust era assets, forced and slave labor, as well as European diplomatic history.