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European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

Challenges and Prospects

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

With both transition dynamics and the EU integration process having shifted to the south-east of Europe, a region fairly marginalized in the literature, this book fills a gap by taking stock of where South-East Europe’s economies and institutions stood in 2004. The authors evaluate the potential for investment and growth within the South-East European region, including the role of trade and FDI, and discuss the challenges associated with unemployment, poverty and ‘brain drain’. The book also provides insights into the particular monetary and exchange rate policies applied, including cases of ‘euroization’, and finally makes an assessment, against this background, of the European perspective of the countries of South-East Europe.

South-East European challenges and prospects

Jean-Claude Trichet

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


Jean-Claude Trichet I am delighted to contribute to the book on the 2004 conference on South-East Europe, the first of its kind, organized by the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB). Let me also warmly congratulate the OeNB and Governor Liebscher for the initiative. When I think of the recent enlargement of the EU in central banking terms I cannot do so without thinking of the contribution of the OeNB, which has been involved in enlargement issues from the very beginning. This was thanks to its long-standing expertise on Central and Eastern Europe. With this event, the OeNB clearly demonstrated once more that it is, inside the Eurosystem, at the forefront of the analysis of European integration. The topic of South-East European challenges and prospects is indeed a broad one.1 Challenges refer mainly to those that arise in the process of transition from a centrally planned to a market economy. In this respect, they are similar to the ones that those eight countries faced that joined the EU in 2004. But for countries in the former Yugoslavia there are also two other transitions with their own particular challenges: the transition from being part of a larger state to being independent democratic countries, and the transition from war to peace. I do not intend to dwell on these issues but they are indeed important when thinking about South-East Europe. In setting the stage for the following chapters, I will focus my remarks on three aspects. I will first make some remarks on the economic...