20 Years of EU Enlargement:

a Success Story for the Future – the perspective of German Business 


Wednesday 8 May, 2024 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.


The EU's 2004 enlargement, known as the Eastern Enlargement, saw the European Union (EU) grow from 15 to 25 members. This was the first time that countries from Central and Eastern and South Eastern Europe had joined the EU.  

 From the perspective of German Business, the EU enlargement of 2004 was and is a success story. Joining the Union took economic co-operation to a new level.

The event takes place at Haus der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Berlin. Conference language is English. The event is free of charge.

Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, the event is fully booked. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Together with our guests, we want to use this occasion to take a look at the challenges and chances faced by enlargement. What lessons have been learnt? What experiences have already influenced  subsequent accession negotiations? Above all, the look back should serve to discuss the future of enlargement. The EU has clearly committed itself to further accessions. This debate is more present than ever in the year of the European Parliament elections. What are the challenges of the accession negotiations (the Western Balkans Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia,) for the candidate countries and the EU itself?   

Dr Martin Wansleben, CEO, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK)

Tanja Gönner, Director General, Federation of German Industries (BDI)

Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, Chairwoman, German Eastern Business Association (OA)

Dr Robert Habeck, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action 

Matevž Frangež, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sports of Slovenia 

Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, Chairwoman, German Eastern Business Association, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board, Claas KGaA mbH 

Mario Holzner, Managing Director, Vienna Institute for Economic Studies 

Dr Thomas Narbeshuber, Vice President BASF Group, BASF Central & South East Europe,  Speaker of the Working Group on South Eastern Europe, German Eastern Business Association  


Economic Spotlight: AHK World Business Outlook for CEE 

Carolin Herweg, Director International Economy, DIHK


Moderation: Daphne Grathwohl, Director Internal and Membership Communication | Spokesperson, DIHK