Looking back, looking forward: Central and Eastern Europe 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

07  November 2019    5:00 pm CET

Panel discussion


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, Seminar Room (Souterrain)


Introductory presentation of wiiw's special report on 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall: Richard Grieveson, wiiw Deputy Director and Olga Pindyuk, wiiw Ukraine Economist

Hannes Swoboda
wiiw President, MEP ret.
Philipp Ther
Prof., Institute of East European History, University of Vienna
Martin Kahanec
Prof., School of Public Policy, Central European University
Julia Wörz
Head of the Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Analysis Unit, Foreign Research Division, Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Peter Havlik
wiiw Senior Research Associate

Mario Holzner
wiiw Executive Director

November 9th marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the most important political event in Europe since 1945. Three decades on, the formerly communist states of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have changed significantly. Large parts of the region have experienced democratisation and economic convergence with Western Europe. However, the catching-up process has often been slow, and in some cases has even gone backwards.
Meanwhile the future of the region is highly uncertain. On the one hand, there is a war in Ukraine, the EU accession process appears to have stalled, and authoritarianism and state capture are on the rise in some countries. The gains of the last 30 years could be at risk.

However, on the other hand economic trends are mostly highly positive. Moreover, civil society and political opposition groups are fighting back against authoritarian leaders, as evidenced in recent mayoral elections in Budapest and Istanbul.  

To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, wiiw has produced a special report on convergence in CEE, and we are gathering together a panel of experts on the region from various disciplines. They will help us to review the last 30 years, and also to look forward to what the next three decades might bring.