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.