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Integration of Central and Eastern European Countries: Increasing EU Heterogeneity?

  • Petr Rozmahel
  • Ludek Kouba
  • Ladislava Grochová
  • Nikola Najman

The paper assesses the heterogeneity of an enlarged European Union and discusses the role and contribution of CEECs on the development of this heterogeneity over time. The two central research questions are: What are the factors that distinguish between successful and less successful CEE countries in terms of the EU enlargement? How was heterogeneity in the EU developed in the last decade? Using cluster analysis methods allow the focusing on heterogeneity in the five selected dimensions of interest: Institutions and Governance; Single Market and Openness; Macroeconomic Policies; Symmetry and Convergence; and Competitiveness. We can find that the specific macroeconomic policies followed by CEE countries during the transformation period were less decisive for a successful transition than the level of (non-elite) political stability, the quality of institutional framework, the maturity and compatibility of informal institutions and the initial level of economic development. We also can find substantial convergence in terms of economic indicators in the EU in the period considered but none or a very slow convergence in terms of institutional indicators. The negative consequences of such heterogeneity were strengthened by the crisis. As a consequence the tensions caused by these different speeds of convergence in different fields challenge the long-term sustainability of EMU, and the consequences of this situation should be more intensively discussed in the EU. We also argue that the experience of transition of CEE countries holds valuable lessons for the currently discussed reforms of the southern periphery of Europe. Similarly to the CEECs before their entrance to the EU, the periphery countries need to find a direction to head for in the next 10-15 years. Budgetary savings are inevitable; nevertheless positive long-term visions should be formulated as well.

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Paper provided by WWWforEurope in its series WWWforEurope Working Papers series with number 9.

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Length: 47
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:feu:wfewop:y:2013:m:6:d:0:i:9
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Order Information: Postal: WWWforEurope Project Office Austrian Institute of Economic Research Arsenal Objekt 20 A-1030 Vienna
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