I first traveled to Europe over three decades ago. There was no ‘EU’, no common currency, and the Berlin Wall had just come down. When I visited Prague, it was still the capital of a country called ‘Czechoslovakia’, and it had only recently cast off the shackles of totalitarianism. Wenceslas Square, the locus of revolutionary fervor, was filled with hundreds of framed photographs of dead patriots and the light of countless candles. 

Coming from western Europe, the contrast was striking. No neon lights or advertising of any kind, very few places to stay or eat—quite a contrast to today’s Prague. Those heady days were full of promise as a ‘new’ Europe was taking shape. Today, the grand European experiment in common markets, common currency, and no borders that began back then is in jeopardy.  (more…)