I live in Slovakia and am often in Vienna, Austria, sometimes I travel to Budapest, Hungary, since it’s not that far. I suppose you could say I live in Central Europe. I’m Belgian myself, so I have to travel a great deal between my two homes, one in Bratislava, one near Brussels.

Do I have the impression this region is on the brink of a war?

No, I do not.

There are no strong tensions between the countries in Central Europe, although there are differences, lots of cultures have the shared memory of the Habsburg empire.

Economically at least four nations are trying to cooperate more through the Visegrad group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia).

Most people I meet around here are afraid of The United States and/or Russia. They do not fear each other in any way. I see lots of friendly interactions between people from Central Europe almost every day of the week.

The older generation is sometimes afraid that Russia will send tanks. Personally, I do not expect to see any Russian soldiers in central Europe any time soon.

The younger generation seems to fear that the expansion of Nato needlessly threatens Russia and is afraid that the US might -through subversive actions and by funding anti-Russia propaganda news outlets in Ukraine- escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

These are only very mild fears.

I see no reason to think war will come to this region.

In case of a nuclear war, I suppose Prague, Vienna and Budapest and any other major city in the region could be a target, but I also don’t see that happening any time soon. I would even assume that the cities in this region would not be high up on anyone’s list for nuclear strikes.

On the whole I find living in this region, plus my experience as a Belgian close to Brussels, fills me with hope. There’s a lot that unites the peoples of Europe.

Last Saturday I was invited to a special event in Brussels, which you might like to check out. Artists from all over Europe gathered in someone’s living room to show their work.