14 May 2008

A 'Byzantine bloc'?

Though Europe is today a thoroughly secular place, this may have changed somewhat with the admission of Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria, in addition to longtime member Greece. All of these are largely Orthodox Christian countries and may effectively constitute something of a "Byzantine bloc" within the EU. Daniel Jianu reports for Transitions Online: The Politics of Faith.

It is possible that, if pan-Orthodox solidarity becomes a reality, the rest of the EU may view these four countries as fifth columnists for Putin and Medvedev's increasingly belligerent Russia. While such solidarity may make sense from a cultural point of view, the Balkan countries would do well to recall from their own history that reliance on Russian assistance or protection is likely to meet with disappointment.

As for exerting a distinctively christian influence on the EU, it would be wise not to expect too much from this bloc.

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