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Economic Convergence and Divergence in Europe

Economic Convergence and Divergence in Europe

Growth and Regional Development in an Enlarged European Union

Edited by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner

This highly topical book addresses the challenge of economic convergence within Europe, beginning with a thorough review of the theory of growth and related empirical research. Historical and more recent economic developments within the present EU and current accession countries are discussed, along with the design for the process of further integration of accession countries into the EU and the Euro area. Moreover, the potential to achieve a sustainable catch-up process in Western Balkan countries, the Ukraine and Russia is explored, focusing on the task facing the EU in designing proper policies vis-à-vis these countries. The contributors’ varied perspectives ensure that the theories and policies postulated are linked closely with the actual situation in accession countries and offer up-to-date insights.

Chapter 22: European Union enlargement and the Balkans

Vladimir Gligorov

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Vladimir Gligorov 22.1. INTRODUCTION The enlargement process for Eastern and South-Eastern Europe has been designed as one of guided convergence of countries in transition that are already partially or potentially integrated with the European Union (EU).1 To judge whether a country can be fully integrated into the EU, one must judge whether it has satisfied a number of conditions that are either necessary or sufficient, or something in between. One is that a country is European, which is not just a geographical criterion but a value criterion, too; that is, the country should share with the EU the same set of fundamental values (whatever those might be). Another condition is that there is, actually or potentially, an economic integration, that is, that the EU is or is going to be the predominant economic (for example, trade) partner of the country in question.2 The third condition is the country’s political integration, which means that the potential EU member either has developed or is developing political and social institutions that are to be found in the EU (democracy, rule of law, civil society, and the like).3 The actual enlargement can be negotiated at some point when it is judged that the conditions have been adequately met and that the process of convergence is on track and is irreversible. Thus, there are essentially two issues to discuss. One is the interplay of these conditions in the process of their fulfilment, and the other is the process of convergence...

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