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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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  • Petr Rozmahel & Ludek Kouba & Ladislava Grochová & Nikola Najman, 2013. "Integration of Central and Eastern European Countries: Increasing EU Heterogeneity?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 9, WWWforEurope.
  • Handle: RePEc:feu:wfewop:y:2013:m:6:d:0:i:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ludek Kouba & Michal Madr & Danuse Nerudova & Petr Rozmahel, 2016. "Policy Autonomy, Coordination or Harmonization in the Persistently Heterogeneous European Union?," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 1, pages 53-71, March.
    2. El-hadj Bah & Josef C. Brada, 2014. "Labor Markets in the Transition Economies: An Overview," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 11(1), pages 3-53, June.
    3. Kengyel, Ákos, 2014. "Az európai uniós tagság mint modernizációs hajtóerő. Gondolatok a kelet-közép-európai országok EU-tagságának 10. évfordulóján
      [EU membership as a driving force of modernization. Ideas on the 10th a
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 493-508.
    4. Karl Aiginger & Kurt Kratena & Margit Schratzenstaller & Teresa Weiss, 2014. "Moving towards a new growth model," WWWforEurope Deliverables series 3, WWWforEurope.
    5. Mihaela-Nona Chilian & Marioara Iordan & Carmen Beatrice Pauna, 2016. "Real and structural convergence in the Romanian counties in the pre-accession and post-accession periods," ERSA conference papers ersa16p320, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    CEE countries; cluster analysis; European governance; European Monetary Union; European integration; European economic policy; European heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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