East-Central Europe

East-Central Europe

East-Central Europe (or Middle Europe, Median Europe, fr. Europe médiane) – a term defining the countries located between German-speaking countries and Russia.[1][2] Those lands are described as situated “between two”: between two worlds, between two stages, between two futures.[3] In the geopolitical sense, East-Central Europe may be opposed to the Western and Eastern Europe, as one of the “Three Europes”.[4]

Differing from ideas of Eastern Europe and Central Europe, the concept is based on different criteria of distinction and has different geographical spread.[5] In addition, countries of Central Europe and of Eastern Europe belong to two different cultural[6][7] and economic circles.



Oscar Halecki

Oscar Halecki, who distinguished four regions in Europe (Western, West Central, East Central and Eastern Europe) defined East-Central Europe as a region from Finland to Greece,[8] the eastern part of Central Europe, between Sweden, Germany, and Italy, on the one hand, and Turkey and Russia on the other.[9] According to Halecki, in the course of European history, a great variety of peoples in this region created their own independent states, sometimes quite large and powerful; in connection with Western Europe they developed their individual national cultures and contributed to the general progress of European civilization.[9]

Paul Robert Magocsi

East Central Europe according to Paul Robert Magocsi

Paul Robert Magocsi described this region in this work Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. He distinguished 3 main zones:

United Nations

United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) was set up to consider the technical problems of domestic standardization of geographical names. The Group is composed of experts from various linguistic/geographical divisions that have been established at the UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names.

Academic institutions

  • International Federation of the Institutes of East-Central Europe has four institutes in its structure (Lublin, Prague, Bratislava, Vilnius) and includes over a hundred members from Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia and Ukraine.[11] The institutes were established successively after 1990, with a secretariat in Lublin, to stimulate the debate on the issue of Central European space between the East and the West.[12] This experience of cooperation - from the very beginning open for representatives of other East-Central European nation-States as well as Russians, Germans and Jews - allowed creation of the Joint Committee of UNESCO and International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS). The first president of the Committee was Jerzy Kłoczowski, long-time member of the UNESCO Executive Council and president of the Institute of East-Central Europe in Lublin.[13] The Committee's 10 meetings (in Paris, Lublin, Oslo and Sydney) were devoted to East-Central Europe.[14] The Federation maintains official relations with UNESCO.[11][15]

Other contributors

  • Michael Foucher[18] defined Middle Europe as an intermediate geopolitical space between the West and Russia, a space of historical transitions between these two organizational poles; political and territorial heirs imposed from the East, i.e. Kremlin; nowadays streamlining process imposed by the West.. According to this author, the following sub-regions form Median (Middle) Europe:

South-Eastern Europe is distinguished from the Balkans, defined as the region consisting of most of the countries in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, plus Albania and Bulgaria. The report précised that Romania and Greece are sometimes incorrectly regarded as Balkan countries.

Narrow definition

East-Central Europe is sometimes defined as eastern part of Central Europe [20][21] and is limited to member states of Visegrád Group - Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. This definition is close to the German concept of de:Ostmitteleuropa.

See also

Further reading

  • J. Kloczowski, East Central Europe in the historiography of the countries of the region, Institute of East Central Europe, Lublin, 1995
  • J. Kłoczowski (ed.), Central Europe Between East and West, Lublin 2005, ISBN 83-85854-86-X
  • East - Central Europe's Position within Europe. Between East and West, Lublin 2004, ISBN 83-85854-81-9
  • O. Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe, Fordham University (1952, 1980) (available on-line)
  • I. Loucas, The New Geopolitics of Europe & The Black Sea Region, Naval Academy, UK National Defence Minister’s Staff, p. 8 [2]
  • O. Halecki, The limits and divisions on European history, Sheed&Ward, New York 1950
  • Y.Shimov, Middle Europe: On the way home, Eurozine 2002/10/11 [3]
  • N. Popa, Frontiere, regiuni transfrontalieresşi dezvoltare regionala in Europa Mediana, [Borders, Transborder Regions and Regional Development in Median Europe] Ed. Universitatii de Vest, Timisoara, 2006
  • G. Zrinscak, L' Europe médiane : des pays Baltes aux Balkans (Dossier n. 8005), La Documentation française 1999 [4]
  • P. Verluise, Géopolitique de l'Europe. L'Union européenne élargie a-t-elle les moyens de la puissance ?, Collection Référence géopolitique, Paris, éd. Ellipses, 2005 [5]


  1. ^ Palmer, Alan (1970)The Lands between: A History of East-Central Europe Since the Congress of Vienna, New York: Macmillan
  2. ^ J. Kłoczowski (ed.), Central Europe Between East and West, Lublin 2005, ISBN 83-85854-86-X
  3. ^ François Jarraud
  4. ^ F. Braudel, Preface to Szucs J., Les trois Europes, Paris 1990
  5. ^ I. Loucas, The New Geopolitics of Europe & The Black Sea Region, Naval Academy, UK National Defence Minister’s Staff, p. 8 [1]
  6. ^ Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996 ISBN 0-684-84441-9
  7. ^ Milan Kundera, The tragedy of Central Europe, New York Review of Books, 26 April 1984, pp.33-8
  8. ^ O. Halecki, The limits and divisions on European history, Sheed&Ward, New York 1950, p. 120
  9. ^ a b O. Halecki, Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe, Fordham University (1952, 1980) (online)
  10. ^ a b c d e United Nations Statistics Division - Geographical Names and Information Systems
  11. ^ a b http://erc.unesco.org/ong/en/directory/ONG_Desc_portal.asp?mode=gn&code=1222
  12. ^ J. Kłoczowski (ed.), Central Europe Between East and West, Lublin 2005, p. 9, ISBN 83-85854-86-X
  13. ^ J. Kłoczowski (ed.), L'héritage historique de la Res Publica de Plusierus Nations, Lublin 2004, ISBN 83-85854-82-7
  14. ^ J. Kłoczowski (ed.), Central Europe Between East and West, Lublin 2005, pp. 110-120, ISBN 83-85854-86-X
  15. ^ http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001170/117035E.pdf
  16. ^ Mission and History | About Us | East Central European Center
  17. ^ CEEM: Accueil
  18. ^ M. Foucher (dir.), Fragments d’Europe – Atlas de l’Europe mediane et orientale, Paris, 1993, p. 60
  19. ^ D. Calin, Final Report, NATO and the EU in the Balkans – a Comparison, Bucharest, 2003, p. 12, available at: http://www.nato.int/acad/fellow/01-03/calin.pdf
  20. ^ J. Kim, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary: Recent Developments, CRS 1996, Federation of American Scientists on-line version
  21. ^ J.Winiecki, East-Central Europe: A Regional Survey. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in 1993, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46, No. 5 (1994), pp. 709-734

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