My purpose is to give a bird s eye view of Europe as a whole, so my position is that of a generalist. Everybody in Europe is inclined to look at the continent from the biased position of his or her own country. This is true in all directions: people look from the west to the east and vice versa, from the north to the south and vice versa, from the periphery to the centre and vice versa. As long as we are willing to accept the limits of our standpoint, we can be enriched by those of oth-ers. That is why I submit my text to the critical assessment of readers in other European contexts. Our continent is too rich in diversity to be grasped by one person only!