Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 8: Monetary policy in a euro-dominated environment: challenges for central banks in South-East Europe
Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald1 1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION The political stabilization of South-East Europe (SEE), a region widely disadvantaged in the past, has paved the way for a new, much broader focus on Eastern Europe. In the 1990s the economic debate had concentrated on the countries coming within immediate reach as the Iron Curtain fell. These countries were not only the key agents of economic reform, but also the preferred destination of ﬁrms and banks trying to participate in the economic upswing. Going further south-east at the time would have meant leaving safe ground in a political and an economic sense. The attractiveness of, and the attention paid to, SEE has since increased signiﬁcantly, however. The end of the wars that destabilized the region in the late 1990s led to an economic upswing, outperforming the upswing in the new EU member states – but also proceeding from a much lower base. With the prospect of EU accession in 2007 or 2008 at the latest for Bulgaria, Romania and – with some delay – for Croatia, growth rates are in fact likely to go up further. Unlike many other states located in the EU neighbourhood (Mediterranean countries or the CIS), all other SEE countries have in fact received clear signals from Brussels that in the long run they would also be welcomed as EU members. This makes the whole region interesting from a monetary policy point of view, as monetary policy becomes a matter of common interest upon EU accession (Fidrmuc and...
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