I am pleased to address such a distinguished audience. I would like to share with you a few thoughts on the current situation in the region east of Berlin. Let me first say that the Universities of Eastern and Central Europe are in search of new identities in their societies, a new role for universities to play in Europe and in the global context. They want not only to fulfil the role of Research and Education centres, but also something which has not been done for generations: cooperation with industries and non-academic public institutions.
It is not very easy for me to make comments on the paper, which I liked very much. There are several points on which I would like to be polemical. Let me first say that my own experience comes from Poland, to some extent also Hungary, and the Czech Republic, but I have very little experience in the former Soviet Union, and this makes my situation here rather difficult because I have a feeling that a lot of what you have said would be more relevant to Russia and the former Soviet Union than to other countries, although I may be mistaken. You have said yourself that you would not like to consider the whole region of Eastern Europe as homogenous. On the other hand I don’t want just to say that Poland is different, because it is not very helpful to say such things.