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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.

Changes in the focus of European economic integration

Axel A. Weber

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


Axel A. Weber In the process of European integration, 2004 was undoubtedly one of the most memorable years. In May 2004 ten new member states joined the European Union. The eastward enlargement of the EU presents major political, institutional and economic challenges. Moreover, there is a very high probability that the process of eastward enlargement has not yet come to an end. Does the enlargement of the EU imply a new shift in the focus of economic integration in Europe? At this juncture, it is difficult to give a clear answer to that question. The history of the EU has seen several such shifts. While in the early years of European integration the focus was on the goods markets, financial market integration has received more attention of late. 1. EARLY STEPS TO EUROPEAN ECONOMIC INTEGRATION Some fifty years ago, a quite ordinary, yet pressing, cause gave rise to European economic integration. In the midst of reconstruction efforts, steelmakers – representing the backbone of several European economies – were heading for a crisis of overproduction. The danger of competition being restricted by the re-erection of cartels was looming large, when Robert Schuman, then French Minister of Foreign Affairs, proposed the establishment of a European Coal and Steel Community.1 His proposal not only aimed at creating a unified market for coal and steel products; it also encompassed the bold idea that member states should surrender control over the coal and steel industry, which was still deemed strategically important, to a...