The project (Re)uniting the East and West: Reflections on the 2004 EU enlargement (REWEU) is focused on the commemoration of the 2004 “big bang” EU enlargement at the occasion of its 20th anniversary in May 2024. This event had numerous positive effects on shaping Europe as we know it today, boosting its security, economic potential, and spreading democracy, good governance and European values across the European continent.

However, despite being a historical moment of European integration, the 2004 enlargement is also often viewed as a root of many challenges that the Union is currently facing, such as democratic backsliding in some new EU Member states or the rise of Euroscepticism.

Through the combination of local, national and international public events, collection of historical memories and narratives, studies on impacts of 2004 enlargement, costs of non-enlargement and role of women in the process, as well as exhibitions and media articles, the project contributes to wider contemporary efforts of EU memory politics.

The project focuses on eight selected EU countries, four from the older EU Member States which were part of the Union’s decision-making processes leading up to the big enlargement (Belgium, Finland, Greece and Italy) and four newly acceding countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland).

Project activities 

  1. Launching expert workshop in Prague
  2. Launching public event in Brussels on the occasion of the 2004 enlargement anniversary
  3. Policy brief on costs of non-enlargement and advocacy consultations
  4. Analysis of national historical narratives surrounding the event in Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, and Poland
  5. National public events commemorating the 2004 enlargement in Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, and Poland
  6. Booklet introducing impacts of the 2004 enlargement on the EU, selected Member States and newly acceding countries accompanied with infographics
  7. Events in regional cities in Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, and Poland
  8. Study on the role of women in the 2004 EU enlargement and online presentations
  9. Closing conference in Prague 

Project partners

Institute for European Policy EUROPEUM

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent think-tank focusing on European integration and cohesion. EUROPEUM contributes to democracy, security, stability, freedom, and solidarity across Europe as well as to active engagement of the Czech Republic in the European Union. EUROPEUM undertakes original research, organizes public events and educational activities, and formulates new ideas and recommendations to improve European and Czech policy making.

Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations

The Royal Institute for International Relations is an independent think tank based in Brussels. Its interdisciplinary research is conducted in a spirit of total academic freedom. Drawing on the expertise of its own research fellows, as well as that of external specialists, both Belgian and foreign, it provides analysis and policy options that are meant to be as operational as possible.

Latvian institute of International Affairs

According to its statutes, the aim of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) is to carry out scientific work and analytical research, as well as to provide expert opinions on Latvia’s challenges, development scenarios and strategies within the international and regional security, political, and economic system. LIIA informs the Latvian and international public about Latvia’s foreign policy trends and developments. The Institute conducts research, issues publications, and organizes lectures, seminars and conferences related to international policy issues, collaborating with Latvian and foreign partners on its projects. LIIA’s activities are currently financed through individual projects and the Institute does not receive core funding from any governmental or non-governmental organization.

Finish Institute of International Affairs

The Finnish Institute of International Affairs is a research institute whose mission is to produce high quality, topical information on international relations and the EU. The Institute realizes its aims by conducting research as well as by organizing domestic and international seminars and publishing reports on its research and current international issues. The Institute also publishes a journal, Ulkopolitiikka (Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs), and maintains a specialized library.

College of Eastern Europe

The Jan Nowak-Jeziorański College of Eastern Europe (Kolegium Europy Wschodniej) was founded in February 2001 by Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, a democratic activist, the legendary “Courier from Warsaw”, the long-time director of the Polish section of Radio Free Europe and the former vice president of the Polish-American Congress. The College of Eastern Europe is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Wroclaw, a city, which, Nowak-Jeziorański once said, “with its root in the Easter is a strategic outpost in the struggle for a better and safer future for Poland.” The other founders are the City of Wroclaw, Lower Silesian Voivodeship Council, National Ossoliński Institute, Angelus Silesius Meeting House, Krzyżowa Foundation and European Cultural Association.

Peace Research Institute Oslo

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people.  Researchers at PRIO seek to understand the processes that bring societies together or split them apart. We explore how conflicts erupt and how they can be resolved; we investigate how different kinds of violence affect people; and we examine how societies tackle crises – and the threat of crisis. We document general trends, seek to understand processes, and inform concrete responses.  PRIO is committed to academic excellence. We aim to develop theoretical insights, refine research methodologies, and communicate our findings widely. We see this academic excellence as paramount to having a meaningful impact on society.  Research at PRIO is financed on a project basis by a range of scientific and policy-oriented funders. The institute is an independent foundation, international in its orientation, with an extensive network of collaborators worldwide.

Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy

The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit think tank, established in Athens, Greece, in 1988.  Its mission is to conduct policy-oriented research and provide policy makers, academia and the public at large with authoritative information, analysis, and policy recommendations, for the development of evidence-based responses to major European and foreign policy challenges.  ELIAMEP is committed to excellence, open dialogue and policy deliberation, research, training and any other undertaking that falls within its spheres of interest.  ELIAMEP promotes pluralist democratic values; a rational level-headed public debate on the major regional, European and global challenges; the resolution of disputes through dialogue; Greece’s European and Euro-Atlantic commitment.

Instituto Affari Internazionali

We are a private, independent non-profit think tank, founded in 1965 on the initiative of Altiero Spinelli. We seek to promote awareness of international politics and contribute to the advancement of European integration and multilateral cooperation (Statute).    We are part of a vast international network, and interact and cooperate with the government and its ministries, European and international institutions, universities, major national economic actors, the media and the most authoritative international think tanks.

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The project is funded by the European Union through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme under the European Remembrance call and will be implemented over 2-year period in years 2024 and 2025.