Conference on the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 15-16 May 2009

Co-organising institutes: COMOS, European Academy, Berlin, Hanns Martin Schleyer Stiftung and the Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds.

The Cologne Monnet Association for EU Studies e.V. has the goal to provide a platform for the exchange of views between academics and practitioners from the European and German level.

Together with them, TEPSA held a conference on the “20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: The German reunification” from 15-16 May 2009 in Berlin. The conference addressed around 35 participants of all ages and looked at the circumstances and different perspectives surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and its consequences for the European integration process.

In a first panel the German dimension of the reunification process was discussed. Chaired by Prof. Wolfgang Wessels, University of Cologne, the speaker Prof. Wolfgang Bergsdorf, from 1982-1993 Head of the Internal Policies Department at the press and information bureau of the German Federal Government, outlined the chronology of events before and after 1989, filled with insight views on chancellor Helmut Kohl’s policy management at that time. In his commentary Dr. Jürgen Mittag, University Bochum, presented the current state of the art of the research on the German reunification process and thus an idea about the different interpretations and theories about its key decisive factors.

In the second panel the European dimension of the German reunification was debated. Chaired by Birke Jantz, COMOS, the speaker Prof. Hartmut Marhold, COMOS/CIFE, and Prof. Wolfgang Wessels highlighted the mutual interdependence between the German and European reunification processes. Both the commentator Frieder Wolf, City Cologne, and Prof. Wessels furthermore stressed that neither politics nor academia were prepared for the events around the year 1989.

In a concluding panel, chaired by Anne Schmidt, TEPSA, the debate of the first two panels was continued and complemented by further aspects such as the perspective and role of the European Institutions at that time (Yvonne Nasshoven, TEPSA), a discussion on the model character of the German experience and if it was the accomplishment of an already existing trend or a rupture in history (Dr. Barbara Lippert, SWP), and the Polish perspective on the events around 1989 (Dr. Holger Münch).

Contact: Anne Schmidt (anne.schmidt@tepsa.be).