Lessons for CESEE Countries
Edited by Ewald Nowotny, Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald and Peter Backé
Chapter 4: Economic convergence across Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe: achievements and challenges
I would like to share some thoughts on the region on which the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) has developed analytical excellence that is beneficial to the entire euro system. I will focus my remarks on selected experiences of countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe on their path of economic and institutional convergence towards the rest of Europe. I will argue that both the successes and the challenges associated with the convergence process point to two basic lessons: first, that we should never relax in the pursuit of domestic policies oriented towards financial stability and sustainable growth; and second, that we need not just more, but also better, European integration. In what follows, I will use the term ‘Western Balkans’ to refer to the six European Union (EU) candidate and potential candidate countries in the region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. I will use the term ‘Central and Eastern European countries’ to refer to seven EU member states outside the euro area, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. And I will refer to the two groups of countries taken together as ‘Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe’.
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