15 years of enlargement – Growing together, moving apart?

Wednesday 16 October 2019, 15:00 to 17:15
VUB Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus, Building D, Promotiezaal D2.01

Panel discussion in the context of the VUB Europe Day

15 years ago, in 2004, the European Union (EU) enlarged to eight Central and Eastern European states as well as to Malta and Cyprus. This event was a milestone in the history of the European integration project. The widespread feeling was that Europe would again be ‘reunited’. Indeed, the Eastern enlargement has contributed to substantially closer socio-economic ties between Eastern and Western Europe. In the educational sector, for instance, Eastern Europeans now have a share of roughly 20 percent of all Erasmus students coming to the VUB. Other Belgian universities have comparable numbers. Yet, 15 years after the enlargement, the relationship has also become more complicated. Some Eastern and Western member states struggle to overcome their differences on issues such as how to deal with asylum seekers in the EU and to guarantee the independence of democratic watchdogs including courts and media. This panel therefore asks: 15 years after the Eastern enlargement, are we growing together or moving apart?


15.00 Welcome & Introduction

  • Prof. Alexander Mattelaer, Academic Director, Institute for European Studies at the VUB
  • Dr. Rado Genorio, Ambassador of Slovenia to the Kingdom of Belgium

15.20 – 17.00 Panel discussion

  • Kamila Partyka, Policy Officer, Innovation, International Cooperation and Sport, European Commission
  • Prof. Gergana Noutcheva, Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Maastricht
  • Prof. Amandine Crespy, Associate Professor in Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
  • Dr. Rafał Szmytka, Erasmus+ coordinator, Jagiellonian University (UJ), Cracow

Chair: Prof. dr. Florian Trauner, Jean Monnet Chair, Institute for European Studies at the VUB

17.00 Networking drinks