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30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

On the 13th of August 1961, the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) constructed the Berlin Wall with the purpose to divide both, ideologically and physically the Western part of the city from the Eastern part. On the 9th of November 1989, Günter Schabowski, spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party announced at a press conference changes between the Western and Eastern parts of the city. People gathered under the wall which gates were opened by the East German border police. The 9th of November marks the day Berlin was reunited.

The discussion focused on the significance of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and its effects on EU Member States, but mostly on the consequences on and the current situation in the Balkans and non-EU states such as Ukraine with a very enriching insight by experts from those countries.

After an introduction and discussion that were moderated by Francisco De Borja Lasheras, former director of E.C.F.R. Madrid (European Council on Foreign Relations) , Valentin Popescu, Journalist explained his views and this keynote speech was followed by a Roundtable  with experts Jasmin Mujanovic, Policy consultant, analyst of southeast European and International affairs, Anna Korbut, Journalist and Academy Robert Bosch Fellow at Chatam House and Przemyslaw Kazaniecki, EDP council member from Poland.

Jasmin Mujanovic pointed out concerning the legacies of the Cold War and the future of European integration: “In these trying times, ones must be especially grateful for genuine support for the Balkans’ “European perspective”.” He added that: “the Cold War did not end authoritarianism in the Western Balkans". He also stressed that "the Western Balkans are still waiting for their 1989".

Anna Korbut analysed the fall of the Berlin Wall/Steel Curtain from the Ukrainian point of view. In this regard, "relations between the EU and Ukraine are based on the Partnership Agreement, the Free Trade Agreement and the Association Agreement", Korbut stressed. She also raised the issue of sanctions imposed against Russia for the violation of the post-World War II order.

On the other hand, veteran journalist and international politics analyst Valentín Popescu has given his testimony as a "first-rate witness", as he was at the time correspondent for "La Vanguardia " in Bonn. For Popescu, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent German unification were not German events but Soviet ones. He pointed out that: "They were sales by the Kremlin to try to save in extremist the USSR and Stalinism from bankruptcy." Valentin Popescu believes that to this day things have changed somewhat in unified Germany, "but that something is rather little" as "on both sides - in the East and in the West - there is still the awareness that 'the others' are still ‘the inhabitants of the other territory’.”

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