For anyone interested in ‘Eastern Europe’, politics or simply understanding Europe today, Radio 4 this week produced a facinating piece of radio bringing together some of the most influential actors in the fall of the Berlin Wall.
What followed was a reunification in Europe that’s left millions of us with a safer, more free and more prosperous continent. It removed all the obstacles to travel and allowed me to live, work, travel, study and enjoy endless hospitality in all-bar-none of the former Soviet countries.
I had nothing to do with the events in 1989, I was 11, but sitting here in Kiev listening to another round of explosive fireworks (presumably another political pop concert) I have a real sense of mixed emotions.
Yes, Europe is more free and more fair but there is still a long way to go. As an EU citizen I can live work and travel in Ukraine without a problem but that privilege is not returned. The freedom granted to Hungarian, Polish and Romanian citizens means nothing to anyone in Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The Iron curtain may not exist and the Belin wall may have fallen but, we should be clear about one thing – an ‘Invisible Shield’ rose in its place and still leaves Europe divided.