No. XXXII Markus Löning, Deutschland

Whats my take away of Prague 1968?

Most of Dubceks political ideas are probably pretty useless today. But he had a dream.

I was just 8 years old when sovjet tanks were crushing the hope for more freedom in Prague. We didn’t have a TV at the time. Nevertheless, pictures of faces screaming in anger and despair at the soldiers on the top of tanks are on my mind whenever I think of Prague 68. They have a enormous emotional force.

Today we are so engaged in debates about the details of policies we seem to forget that political debates need big ideas on how to shape a better world. It’s the right ideas that will give people courage and a sense of direction. If the parties of the political centre remember the strength of the political dream, we will regain momentum and push back right-wing populism.

The EU is founded on human rights and it should be full of opportunities for the weak as well as for the talented. It should be the place where minorities are respected and refugees will find protection. A place open to new people and new ideas. A continent where scientific and economic progress is aimed at a sustainable future and used to the best of everybody. A place where young people will find a bright future because they find the education and the jobs they want. A place of justice and equal participation for all citizens.

It may have taken Czechs and Slowaks 21 years to liberate themselves. But they dream of freedom prevailed.

Markus Löning is running a consultancy for business & human rights. He is one vice-presidents of the ALDE party and has been the German governance human rights commissioner and a Member of the Bundestag before.