Issue 28 4/2004

The FolkWorld Editorial
Opening up to the East

On 1 May 2004, one of the most ambitious projects that Europe has ever seen goes ahead: 10 new Member States will join the European Union, bringing in eight countries from central and eastern Europe, as well as the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus. With this enlargement, the European Union will have a total population of over 450 million, which is more than the combined population of the United States and Russia. Not only unites the enlargement eight Central and Eastern European countries with Western Europe, it also brings - both mentally and geographically - the European Union's new neighbours much nearer, including many states of the former Soviet Union, including Russia itself. It also marks only the start of an opening to the East, with the next enlargement, welcoming Bulgaria and Rumania, not far away.

All socio economic problems and risks of this enlargement aside, this is undoubtedly a very happy moment in the history of our continent, as it means that Europe is re-united, finally healing the rift in Europe opened up by World War Two and the Cold War. It symbolically shows that divides can be overcome, and it hopefully means a more peaceful and secure future for the European continent.

Hopefully enlargement will mean also increased cultural exchange with Eastern European countries, both with new Member States and new neighbours, in order to establish more understanding, and appreciation of the even more varied culture that the European Union will have.

FolkWorld hopes to reflect the opening up of the European Union by increased coverage of folk music from the continents Eastern parts. We have establish some new links to Russia and some other Eastern European cultures, resulting in the first ever FolkWorld review of Latvian music in this issue. We also feature an article about a Russian celebration which might not directly come to mind when thinking of folk music in Russia - the popular St Patrick's Day Celebrations in Moscow. The German version of FolkWorld features additionally an article/preview about a high profile event on Polish music in Berlin.

FolkWorld would like to welcome all the new European Union members, as well as our new neighbours!

Your FolkWorld Editors.

P.S. You will have noticed that this time round, FolkWorld managed to produce a new issue in just two months, which we are rather proud of. However, we can assure you already now that the next issue will take a bit longer - the wedding of one of FolkWorld's editors makes a bit of a FolkWorld break essential! Next issue will come out, hopefully, by the end of summer.

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 4/2004

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