The EU eastward enlargement has brought about numerous changes and new subdivisions to a historically grown cultural area. The EU’s new eastern border becomes more and more inpregnable. Together with the US-Mexican border, this border is the most modernly guarded and best-controlled worldwide. The formerly vital cultural exchange in this region is now prevented or strongly limited by visa regulations. Ethnic minorities, who used to cultivate a small-scale border traffic, are now increasingly located outside the EU. The gap in living standards on the different sides of the „Iron Curtain“ is growing at an alarming level and transforms whole generations of Non-EU-residents into work migrants. Those who profit most are in fact those engaged in people smuggling.
In these new border situations, the character of the poet and writer occupies a very special position: In many EU border countries, they symbolise one of the last uncorrupted authorities, who give a voice to the losers of unification and to those who are excluded from economic transformation. In Ukraina and Belarus, and recently also in the Baltic republics, these authors inventively and pugnaciously contribute to the modernization and recreation of the existing minority languages and hence are idolized by young people like popstars. In Central and Eastern Europe, young poets and writers interprete and comment on post socialist change, formulate a new European self-conception, and thus greatly contribute to the evolution of a postsocialist youth culture which addresses Europe critically.