[Letter] Right of Reply: MCC Brussels think-tank responds to MEP Cseh

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An opinion piece published in EUobserver on 7 March 2023 accuses our think-tank, MCC Brussels, of promoting “Putin’s vision”. The author, the Hungarian MEP Katalin Cseh, states that our aim is “to destroy the EU”. In typical McCarthyite fashion she relies on innuendo and false allegations to discredit our work.

Cseh takes exception to an op-ed I wrote for Politico, where I stated that the aim of MCC Brussels is to offer an “alternative vision for Europe”. She dishonestly claims that in fact the goal of our think-tank is to promote Putin’s vision for Europe.

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Cseh has every right to criticise our work, but not to attribute to us views and objectives that contradict our very existence. For the record, MCC Brussels is not a pro-Putin organisation. I have written at length about the war in Ukraine and until now no one has ascribed her falsehood to me. On the contrary, numerous publications have sympathetically reviewed my book, The Road To Ukraine, How The West Lost Its Way and acknowledged my unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

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Contrary to Cseh’s assertion, MCC Brussels genuinely seeks to offer an alternative vision for Europe. Unlike Cseh, we believe that it is legitimate to hold competing views on geopolitics and European affairs.

That is why this week we organised a conference The Return of Geopolitics? Europe A Year After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. We believe that the great issues of our time are a legitimate subject of debate. We have invited speakers with opposing views precisely because we think that clarity about the issues at stake can only be enhanced through a clash of opinions.

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In contrast to our approach Cseh possesses an imperious outlook and takes the view that there can be no competing views on Europe. In particular, she wishes to discredit the attempt of Hungary to develop its national, cultural and intellectual resources to project an alternative vision of what it means to be European. Caricaturing this project as Putinism is a pathetic way of trying to achieve her objective.

Cseh takes exception to my criticism of initiatives to decolonise curriculums at UK universities, which I described as the work of “cultural Taliban”. She believes that this an example of Putinism in action. I believe that this is an example of defending the legacy of European culture against the cultural Taliban.

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One final thought. In a democratic Europe are we not allowed to hold contrasting views?


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