The fall of the Berlin Wall and European politics

Perspectives of new Europe in the early twenty-first century

Authored by: Attila Ágh

Routledge Handbook of European Politics

Print publication date:  January  2015
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415626750
eBook ISBN: 9781315755830
Adobe ISBN: 9781317628361


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The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has become the symbol for a turning point in world history, as it signified the end of the bipolar world. This event also paved the way for fundamental transformations in European politics that can be described through five processes:

security integration, with the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and the full transatlantic integration of former Soviet countries into North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);

the economic integration process, whereby the dissolution of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) led to the economic reintegration of the continent, above all within the EU;

the political integration process, involving the democratization of the continent through the general acceptance of European norms via the Council of Europe, and through EU accession in Southern, Northern and Eastern Europe;

the social integration process, which has permitted more or less free movement across the continent and the reunification of Europe through the acceptance of common socialization models, including a mass migration from East to West;

the cultural and ideological integration process, via the promotion of European values and a European identity, a multilevel identity based on national and regional identities within the member states (MS). 1

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