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The EU’s east-west divide

Kovats, Eszter et al, (2019), “The EU’s east-west divide“, Social Europe, July

The so-called ‘Treuhand’ policy which entailed an enormous transfer of wealth from east to west through the privatisation of most state enterprises and real estate to west Germans, the introduction of a militant neoliberal capitalism that would have been politically unthinkable in west Germany at that time, the alteration of entire living and working environments from one day to the next, the devaluation of people’s life histories and identities through the system’s failure, the frequent treatment of the ‘Ossis’ (easterners) as if they were immature or backward—all of this has left its mark. All the more so since it radically dampened the optimistic spirit of change, the hopes and the dynamism of the peaceful revolution of 1989.

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