I found myself at the lunch table with a Latvian, a Slovenian and a Swedish colleague. Somehow, the conversation got onto the former Yugoslavia and I found myself reminiscing aloud about two great Yugoslavian professors who had taught me at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in 1980. One, the late Branko Pribicevic, studied with G.D.H. Cole and was a noted expert on workers’ participation, syndicalism and guild socialism (and supervised the MA thesis I blogged about here). The other, Bogdan Denitch (picture), took American nationality but retained his Yugoslavian passport and frequently went back there. Still very much alive, Bogdan, always a larger-than-life character, was that rarest of birds, an American socialist, and he taught a course (I forget its exact title) on comparative socialism (all credit to SAIS for offering such courses but, then, Johns Hopkins set up its Bologna Center precisely because until around that time it was, together with Turin and Milan, one of the tips of a ‘red triangle’). In those days, Yugoslavia was the champion of the Non-Aligned Movement, Sweden was a founder member of the European Free Trade Association, Latvia was under the yoke of the Soviet Union and Eurocommunism was a major debating topic in Italy and Spain. And, I reminisced, I distinctly recalled Denitch comparing Yugoslavian and Swedish socialisms, among others (for, until the 1976 and 1979 elections, the Swedish Social Democratic Party enjoyed a sort of historical hegemony). It is extraordinary to recall how much the EU has changed in the meantime. In 1980 the EESC – as it then was – had just nine Member States; Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom had joined the founding six in 1973. Greece would join in 1981. The former Yugoslavia started to disintegrate in 1991 (when Slovenia declared its independence) before collapsing into ghastly wars. After the ‘singing revolution’ and the Baltic Chain, Latvia regained its independence in August of the same year and the Soviet Union was formally dissolved in December 1991. Sweden would become an EU member state in 1995. Latvia and Slovenia (the latter a former part of Yugoslavia) joined in 2004. So much history crammed into such a small period of time! Oh, and yes; nowadays Pribicevic and Denitch would be, respectively, great Croatian and Serbian academics.