Get out your maps! The boundaries of Europe have changed yet again! Old nations disappear, new nations appear, conquest shifts the divisions between people (often without shifting the people themselves). This is what makes European history fun: the division of Poland, the Napoleonic conquest of Europe, the Congress of Vienna, Greek indepedence, annexation of Alsace -Lorraine, the break-up of Czechoslovakia.

What earth-shattering event has happened? France and Luxembourg exchanged nine hectares of unused agricultural land so that the latter can put up a parking lot. With strains of Joni Mitchell in my head, I lament the modesty that has overcome the politics of the continent. I guess Chirac’s “triple revolution” of environmentalism has started off on the wrong foot.

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