Viva la Transición. The Balkans from the Post-Wall Era to Post-Crisis Future, Christophe Solioz, (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft | Southeast European Integration Perspectives, vol. 12, 2020).

Viva la Transición! — inspired by Bojan Stojcic’s eponymous artwork — opens with the “aesthetics of encounter” framing a new understanding of the political — polymorphous rather than unidimensional, more “flux” and less “form”, improving autonomy instead of control.

Mutations typify periods when obsolete institutional forms erase while an emergent society attempts to make its way. Hence the gap between past and future, the reminder that “our inheritance was left to us by no testament” (Char), and the need to reconsider “transition”. Against this background, transition — characterised by instability, movement, alterations and ruptures — becomes the rule of any society, not exclusively of “transitional societies”. It nonetheless conveys a drive, a movement that empowers a society creatively to self-constitute itself. In a ceaseless participatory process, each polity assembles, adjusts, fabricates, constructs itself as society. Instead of disenchantment and collapse, “democratic indetermination” and “politics of dwelling” shape a truly effective and open democracy.

This essay focuses on the Balkans and draws the recent history of central and eastern Europe right up to date rethinking as paradoxes the East-West and centre-periphery divides, the European integration and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) processes. Against the background of an entrapped Europe, of the current de-consolidation, de-Europeanisation and de-democratisation developments, the view of the author is that there is a need for paradigm change, prompted by a new understanding of the post-1989 period, by the magnitude of the new world order’s change and by Europe’s multi-layered, polycentric nature.

Tackling the challenges of the twenty-first century and overcoming the paradoxes of the ongoing multiple transition processes request more Europe, not less. It matters to complexify rather than simplify — thus multiply democratic procedures and institutions. A multiplex Europe is at stake.