This innovative volume analyzes historical, strategic and domestic political influences on the character and dynamics of the European Union's eastern enlargement. Its main focus is on interactions between Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, in political-diplomatic, commercial-economic and socio-cultural fields. The book also examines the wider European and international contexts to show that as enlargement advanced, we also witnessed an increase in the potential for conflict among EU members, old and new. Steve Wood provides an eclectic and topical appraisal, which identifies the German state as the crucial actor in both the enlargement venture and parallel processes of bilateral reconciliation. The book is recommended to those with interests in contemporary Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and European integration.
Contents: Introduction; History, identity and Europe's political geography; East-West integration: states, institutions, interests and norms; Economics and commerce; Culture, society and the state; German minorities in CEE with a case study of Silesia; Political elites, public opinion and democratic processes; Is Eastern enlargement of the EU a beneficial investment for Germany?; World in flux; Bibliography; Index.