Rashkova, Ekaterina R. “The future of Europe and the role of Eastern Europe in its past, present and future.” European Political Science (2020): 1-6.
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and over a decade after its reunification, the European Union (EU) is experiencing increasingly more challenges toward its unity. The EU has experienced a number of crises in the early 2000s, the breakaway of one of its members in 2019, and is challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The latter crisis exhibits, on the one hand, the need for social coherence and unified policies, and on the other, has prompted the physical closure of borders, and divergent responses by domestic political elite. One such reaction—the adopted strengthening of power for Hungary’s Prime Minister—has prompted an international outcry and re-heated the debate of the democratic backtracking of some of the new EU member-states. Analyzing the process of European Enlargement and the changing sentiments about European Integration in a number of East European countries, this symposium brings to the fore important questions about the relationship between Eastern and Western Europe. Although there is a general consensus that both the East and the West have benefited and continue to benefit from their reunion, it is nevertheless the case that the quick assimilation of liberal values has led to policies seen as threatening the liberal democracy model of the EU that we need to address in order to preserve the stability of the Union.