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The light that failed: why the west is losing the fight for democracy


04 Mar 2020 12:30 to 14:30


Avenue des Arts 56
1000  Brussels



Event Location


Event Description

About the event 

The Martens Centre is delighted to host Ivan Krastev and MEP Radosław Sikorski in a conversation on the alleged divisions between Eastern and Western member states. Based on the book The Light that FailedStephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev argue that the supposed end of history turned out to be only the beginning of an Age of Imitation. The Bulgarian author together with MEP Sikorski will try to answer the question why did the West, after winning the Cold War, lose its political balance?

In the early 1990s, hopes for the eastward spread of liberal democracy were high. And yet the transformation of Eastern European countries gave rise to a bitter repudiation of liberalism itself, not only there but also back in the heartland of the West. What gave rise to the powerful wave of populist xenophobia? 

Why did the post-1989 Westernization imperative fail? And what can be done to save the fundamental values on which the West is built?


Welcome remarks:

Mikuláš Dzurinda
President, Martens Centre


Ivan Krastev
Co-author of The Light that Failed: Why the West is losing the Fight for Democracy?


Ivan Krastev 
Co-author of The Light that Failed, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Bulgaria

Radosław Sikorski
MEP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland

Moderated by:

Roland Freudenstein
Policy Director, Martens Centre



European Institute of Peace
Research Consultants
International Association for Democracy (IAD)
Lobbying Officer (voluntary)
European Food Banks Federation
Head of ​Fundraising and Partnerships​​
European Affairs Consulting Group (Eacon)
EU Public Affairs Trainee
International Commission of Jurists - European Institutions
Programme Manager
Terre des Hommes International Federation
Child and Youth Participation Advisor (Environment & Climate)
KIOS Foundation
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European Parliament, office of MEP Siegfried Mureșan
Accredited Parliamentary Assistant, office of MEP Siegfried Mureșan