Staring through the mocking glass
Three misperceptions of the east-west divide since 1989
It was assumed after 1989 that eastern economies would easily take up western-style capitalism without a ‘third option’. Their transformation was far deeper and more brutal than if socialism had collapsed two decades earlier. As a result, the free movement of labour and capital after 2004 produced lopsided developments, and after the turbulence caused by the 2008 financial crisis the EU became unwilling to reign in new member states’ illiberal governments.