Cover Osteuropa 8/2010

In Osteuropa 8/2010

The European Union and the Origins of Free Europe
German-French Reconciliation and the Legacy of 1989

Stefan Auer

Deutsche Fassung


The European Union puts a great deal of effort into encouraging a European identity among its citizens. To this end, it draws on the means and methods of nation-states. But this identity policy has its limits, for Europe is not a nation, and the EU is not a nation-state. Above all, the different historical experiences can hardly be reduced to a single story line. Since eastern enlargement, German-French reconciliation has lost its bonding force as the legitimacy-creating, historical core of European integration. How the quest for freedom in East Central Europe before 1989 is handled is decisive. Those who try to instrumentalise the legacy of 1989 can end up damaging the credibility of the EU instead of boosting its legitimacy.

(Osteuropa 8/2010, pp. 3–24)