Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Navigating the road to Europe
Klaus Liebscher In 2003 the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) hosted its last ‘East–West Conference’. At the time, we had come together to debate ‘The economic potential of a larger Europe – keys to success’ and thus revisited the most important topics of previous East–West conferences, such as human capital formation, ﬁnancial stability, and the speciﬁcation of a suitable policy mix for structural reforms. I am very proud to be able to say that the OeNB has been following the transition process very closely from the very beginning. Already in 1989, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank started to build up an international platform – comprising seminars, workshops and conferences – to discuss questions that are related to the transition process and to European integration. By 1995, the East–West Conference was established as an annual event of the OeNB in Vienna that highlighted numerous aspects of mutual interest year after year. Finally, in the setting of the 2003 East–West Conference, we pre-celebrated the historic event of the enlargement of the European Union (EU) towards the East in May 2004 – truly a major milestone in the European integration process. Up to today, the European Union has reached a high degree of stability and prosperity. One may safely assume that in the ﬁrst half of the last century people would not have dared to dream of this period of peaceful convergence across Europe. Despite the successes, one has to acknowledge that much remains to be done for strengthening and advancing European integration. To single out...