Invitation: 30 years after peaceful revolution. Remembering German reunification as a success story for Europe?


October 27 (Wednesday), 2021


Online Event (ZOOM)



Words of Welcome, Katrin Böttger Institut für Europäische Politik, Berlin

Screening: “A European success story? Central Europe from democratic revolu­tions to EU accession (1989–2004) and beyond”

Panel Debate: German reuni­fi­cation as a success story for Europe?

Timm Beichelt, Viadrina University Frankfurt/Oder
Judith Enders, Network Third Generation East, Perspective Hoch3, Berlin
Petr Just, Metro­po­litan University Prague
István Hegedűs, Hungarian Europe Society, Budapest
Marie Kepler, History Graduate, Durham University, Berlin
Moderator:  Simone Klee, Institut für Europäische Politik, Berlin


1989 represents a turning point in history. In East Germany, Poland, Czecho­slo­vakia or Hungary, democratic opposition managed to peace­fully oust communist elites and establish democratic governments. The German reuni­fi­cation in 1990 can be consi­dered a first step of the integration of Central Europe with the rest of the continent, culmi­nating in EU  Enlar­gement in 2004. However remem­bering German reuni­fi­cation remains a contested issue in Germany today, that needs to bridge the gap between celebrating the success of peaceful revolution and EU integration on the one side, while acknow­ledging the transition challenges that still result in inequa­lities in German society. Even more so, that the legacy of democratic transition is instru­men­ta­lised for the rise of populist and autho­ri­tarian movements, under­mining European values and unity.

During the event we will discuss German reuni­fi­cation as a focal point for European memory. What were the successes of German reuni­fi­cation and what were its short­co­mings? How is reuni­fi­cation being viewed in other Central European countries? How can we transport the meaning and lessons learned to a younger and more diverse generation. May the legacy of peaceful revolution in Germany and Central Europe serve as a crucial source of inspi­ration for activities aiming at the reinvi­go­ration of European values?

Prior to the discussion, a documentary movie, that collects historic archives and inter­views with witnesses’ testimony is shown as a departure for discussion.

The EUritage project celebrates the 30th anniversary of Central European democratic revolu­tions as well as the 15th anniversary of their accession to the European Union. These histo­rical events now belong to our common European heritage. They unite European citizens as part of the same community of values. The project is organised by Institut für Europäische Politik, College of Eastern Europe, WiseEurope, Hungarian Europe Society, Metro­po­litan University Prague and City of Gdansk. It is funded by the Europe for Citizen Programme of the European Commission.