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This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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Purpose Europa

What is Europe for? Beneath the summitry and the punditry, the question endures. Purpose Europa will explore the range of possible answers.

European unification in the era of the network state

The integration of Europe, both response to and expression of globalisation, has provoked nationalist reaction in the member states, putting the project at risk. Europe needs to mediate between global and local spaces; this requires the building of a European identity that complements national and communal ones, and is founded on a progressive concept of governance and economy.

Real Europe

The EU is facing a challenge of renewal as daunting as any since its founding years. The fit between its institutions and national governments is unclear, its economic strategy and legislative processes are confused, its publics are disillusioned. Meeting this challenge requires astute leadership that delivers real benefits to its citizens.

The future of Europe - simplify, simplify

The European project is in difficulty, but the remedies of Castells and Perissich are not the answer. Europe needs, not an emphasis on networks or immediate benefits, but democratic simplicity. A focus on the core activities and rules that can add value to people’s lives opens the way to a creative rethink of the fundamentals of the Union.

Holidays at home: The Czech enthusiasm for weekend cottages and allotments

A particular feature of Czech experience is the weekend or holiday country cottage, with its opportunities for self-sufficiency and recreation.

Summer in Baden-Baden: Leonid Tsypkin's <em>From the Life of Dostoevsky</em>

The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky spent the spring of 1867 travelling in Germany with his young bride, Anna Grigorievna. A century later, his compatriot Leonid Tsypkin was impelled to reconstruct the couple's imaginative world at this moment. As the narrative of their journeying intersects with the author’s own fascination with their story, the text moves from biography or study of Russian culture to become an illumination of the mystery of art itself.

Mapping the territory of an impossible love

The debate between ‘westernisers’ and ‘slavophiles’, deeply engrained in Russian cultural history, continues in surprising new forms. As in this profound, illustrated reflection on Russia’s geographical and historical destiny, it can also be at the core of inner, familial dialogue. And, for an artist who reads faces as maps of the soul, it reveals truths that are both painful and unavoidable.

Remembering the Sixties

The 1960s were a piece of hash for one who was not only there, but remembers.

The wages of war

The end of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has left competing power centres encircling each other. The US will continue to hunt dispersed al-Qaida and Taliban groups, at the cost of adding more civilian casualties to an already large total. Arms producers and US hawks are counting their winnings, but the wages of war are read very differently in the non-western world.The last major centre of Taliban power, Kandahar, finally fell to a heterogeneous grouping of local anti-Taliban Pashtun militia at the end of last week.

Media freedom, or regulation?

It is in relation to media policy that the left shows its true anti-democratic credentials. It precisely doesn't want freedom of speech.