The 30 years since the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 have been marked by incredible progress toward a Europe “whole and free.” The European Communities became the European Union, grew to 28 member states, and helped raise living standards across the continent. NATO survived the end of the Cold War and expanded to 29 members. But today the challenges to that progress are many. Far-right populists that reject the ideals of pluralism and liberal democracy upon which European integration rests have accumulated support across the continent. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine mark the first time since World War II that a state has used force to change national borders in Europe. The alliance with the United States, which played a key role supporting European integration and security, has increasingly frayed as President Trump questions the value of NATO and the European Union. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is likely to leave the EU in the not-too-distant future, the first member state to ever do so.
On Tuesday, November 12, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings hosted a panel discussion to determine what the lessons of the past 30 years of European integration mean for the next 30 years. The discussion was led by Brookings Robert Bosch Senior Visiting Fellow James Goldgeier, Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Victoria Nuland, Brookings Senior Fellow and current Kissinger Chair at the Library of Congress Constanze Stelzenmüller, and CUSE Director Thomas Wright. The discussion was moderated by Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.
This event is part of the Brookings – Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative, which aims to build up and expand resilient networks and trans-Atlantic activities to analyze and work on issues concerning trans-Atlantic relations and social cohesion in Europe and the United States.