The new malaise in the small states of eastern Europe Can the result of the transition process undergone by the small states in central Europe be considered a positive one? The conclusion that it cannot emerges from a psycho-social analysis of the problems faced by the populations of the small states in central Europe in dealing with the difficult historical legacy which derived from the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire. The basic idea underpinning this analysis is that the process of transition and integration of the countries in this area has taken the form of a double inverse movement from the point of view of the nation-states and the collective identities they represent. The territorially-centred perspective which is behind the retarded development of the nation states now comes up against the process of devolution implicit in the mechanism of European integration. For the small central European states old problems and new ones, related to their integration into the global context, are accumulating and there is a danger that they might fail to ward off xenophobia and inter-ethnic prejudice. Such a threat can only be averted by European integration built around the free movement of information, ideas and people.