When in 1989 communism collapsed in central and eastern Europe, the road seemed to be open for the reunification of a divided Europe. The enthusiasm for membership of the European Union was great among the nations of the former Soviet bloc. The German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany within a year, a year later the sovereignty of the Baltic states and Ukraine was restored. Whereas the disintegration of the Soviet Union proceeded in a remarkably calm way, everything went wrong in Yugoslavia
where ethnic conflicts led to ten years of bloody civil war and the disintegration of the country (1991-2001).
In 2004 the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia became members of the European Union. Rumania and Bulgaria followed three years later. Twenty years after the end of communism in Europe, the European Union includes ten post-communist member states, eleven, if one takes the former GDR into account. This, however, does not mean that the “reunification
of Europe” has been successfully concluded. Many post-communist states are still struggling with their new identities, the countries of ex-Yugoslavia have, with the exception of Slovenia, not yet found their way into the European Union and have not arrived at a sustainable reconciliation. Ukraine and the countries of the Southern Caucasus have not yet turned into stable democracies and their perspectives
for EU-membership are practically non-existent. Belarus has remained more or less untouched by changes in neighbouring countries and Russia, finally, has not made the much hoped-for progress on the road towards democracy and has developed an often problematic relationship with the European Union and other neighbours.
Where do the post-communist countries of central and eastern Europe as well as those of the Western Balkans now stand in Europe? What role has the example of the European Union played in the last twenty years? In what way has the accession of the post-communist countries influenced the European Union and its policies? How do the post-communist countries see themselves in twenty years time? And, finally, on what goals and values should Europe’s future be based?
PART ONE Central Europe: The New EU Member States
1. Ilana Bet-El: Post-Cold War Enlargement and the Coming of Age of the European Union
2. Adam Krzemiński: Between Disappointment and Optimism: The Polish Experience
3. Jiří Pehe: The Czech Republic and the European Union: A Problematic Relationship
4. Veiko Spolitis: Amidst Centripetal and Centrifugal Moves: The Ongoing Transformation of the Baltic States
5. Werner Schulz: Catching the European Train – German Unification: A Stepping Stone Towards a United Europe
PART TWO The Western Balkans: The EU Perspective
6. Nicholas Whyte: The European Union and the Western Balkans
7. Vladimir Pavićević: The European Perspective of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo
8. Tihomir Ponoš: Croatia: An Apprehensive Fan of Europe
9. Ugo Vlaisavljević: Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Continuity of Ethno-Politics in the Age of European Integration
PART THREE Ex-Soviet Union: The EU’s Eastern Neighbours
10. Fraser Cameron: The Eastern European Policy of the European Union
11. Beka Natsvlishvili: Georgia on the Way to Europe
12. Jens Siegert: Russia and the European Union: A Deep Moat in Place of the Iron Curtain?
13. Juri Durkot: Tales from Ukraine