Table of Contents

The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe

The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe

Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald

The Economic Potential of a Larger Europe gives insights into past, present and future issues related to the ongoing EU enlargement process. Providing a unique forum for debate and a multiplicity of views and experiences from both high-profile academics and those who engage with enlargement on an implementation level, this book covers a wide range of topics that are key to a successful transition and integration process and thus to the provision of a prosperous growth environment within a larger Europe. Special attention is paid to monetary integration, notably entry into ERM II, on which representatives of the national central banks involved present their views.

Chapter 3: Capacity building challenges in the run-up to EU enlargement and beyond

Jean Lemierre


Jean Lemierre1 Looking ahead, the major challenge for the EU acceding countries is that transition has not yet been completed. To quote an example from previous enlargement rounds, Spain and Portugal took another ten years after their accession to the EU to make further reforms and to adapt their economies and their societies. The main challenges the new EU members states now face include, apart from implementing the acquis communautaire, reining in the fiscal deficit, making structural reforms – and responding to the pressure of the people, who want a reward for the extraordinary efforts they have made already over the past ten years of transformation. They have been very good, they have done a lot. But they want rewards, and they will get some. Those measures and measures taken to enhance competitiveness mean costs, in the fields of environment, education, and so on; so the acceding countries will continue to be under pressure. Finally, unemployment can come and it is coming. In many countries in Central Europe and for the same reasons, transition has thus been both destruction and creation. So what is the answer? The way forward will be to boost the private sector. Against this background, the first priority will be to reform the banking sector, to improve its capacity to finance the real economy sufficiently. The level of financial banking intermediation in central Europe is still very low, much lower than in the other countries of the EU. The financial sector continues to be...

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