Table of Contents

Structural Challenges for Europe

Structural Challenges for Europe

Edited by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner

The main thrust of the book is that the sharing of mutual experiences is important for generating an acceptable policy mix, both at EU and national levels. The contributors highlight key financial issues, including the role of FDI and of foreign banks in the still ‘under-banked’ acceding countries, the re-launch of social security systems and the fiscal challenges of financing the catch-up process. They also examine the ongoing EU debate surrounding the application of the Stability and Growth Pact in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and go on to explore the contrasting evidence that some CEECs have shown more extensive privatisation efforts than some EU countries.

Introduction: structural reform and competitiveness – the position and future of an integrated Europe

Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner

Subjects: economics and finance, money and banking

Extract

Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner In trying to analyse the position Europe is in today, one has to take note of the fact that after the devastations of World War II and in the 45 years that have passed since the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Europeans have accomplished great economic success and European integration has made huge strides forward. The European Union will soon consist of 25 member states extending the zone of peace and stability far into the continent, finally repealing an artificial barrier across Europe that had been imposed by the Cold War. In comparison to the USA the European Union is often criticized for being less dynamic and competitive. But let us not forget the fact that Europe places much more importance on values like social security, lower crime rates and a more equal income distribution. Geographic and cultural heterogeneity enriches the Union, but, of course, constitutes a certain obstacle to labour mobility. Coordinating the political decision making process among 25 member states is certainly a more difficult process than in the US with its homogeneous economic and political structures. On the other hand, a major compromise on agricultural issues and structural and cohesion funds was reached at the 2002 Brussels European Council and confirmed at the Copenhagen Council in December 2002. This decision confirmed the ability of the EU member states to resolve important issues in a pragmatic and expedient way. As a result of this breakthrough, enlargement is now...