Democracy and Integration in Europe 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall


The unification of Europe symbolised by the EU’s enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe in 2004-2007 has been celebrated as one of the biggest achievements of the European integration project in its recent political history. Not only did it bring peace and prosperity to the continent, but it also exemplified the most successful external democracy promotion project in the history of the European integration. 15 years after the EU’s Eastern Enlargement and 30 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the optimism of these early assessments has given way to a sobering political reality characterised by steady democratic erosion in some Eastern EU Member States and a declining potential of the EU to inspire democratic change further East, in particular in the candidate countries from the Western Balkans and the partner states from the Eastern Partnership. This has further undermined the internal cohesion of the EU and the external credibility of its foreign policy.

Thus, this project is designed to address the internal challenges to the EU democratic acquis and their implications for the EU’s external democracy promotion role, most notably in the context of the EU enlargement policy and the Eastern Partnership.

“EU-East” Jean Monnet Chair has four objectives:

First, strengthening the teaching at Maastricht University about Eastern Europe, the transformation processes that the post-communist region has experienced within the past 30 years since the collapse of Communism, and how they have affected the internal cohesion and the external credibility of the EU with respect to its core democratic values.

Second, conducting and supervising research on the democratisation and de-democratisation of post-communist countries, including the EU’s impact on these processes, and inspiring the new generation of professionals and researchers interested in this field of study.

Third, reaching out to the community of practitioners and policymakers with policy proposals and recommendations about keeping up the EU’s internal democratic quality and enhancing the EU’s external democracy support role, especially in the EU’s immediate vicinity.

Fourth, engaging civil society members, students, teachers and the general public in a debate about the state of East-West integration as well as the future of EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood policies, at the local level via public events and lectures organised in collaboration with Studio Europa Maastricht, Studium Generale and TeenzCollege and at European level via policy roundtables and conferences organised at Maastricht University’s Campus Brussels.

  • Welcome to FASoS – the faculty at Maastricht University where our project is put into action