Challenges and Prospects
Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 16: Foreign direct investment and trade as pivotal elements for catching up and competitiveness in CEE
Boris Nemsic INTRODUCTION Mobilkom austria is the leading mobile service operator in Austria. Our subsidiaries in Croatia (VIPnet), Slovenia (Si.mobil) and Liechtenstein (mobilkom liechtenstein) form the mobilkom austria group and serve more than 4.9 million customers in the heart of Europe. Our experience in Central Eastern Europe on foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade as pivotal elements for catching up and competitiveness in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is shared in this chapter. Romano Prodi, when still the President of the European Commission, very aptly remarked: ‘Europe’s uniﬁcation involving enlargement to embrace ten new members, a clear timetable for the other candidate countries and real prospects of full membership for all countries in the Balkans is the greatest contribution the Union could make to developing the whole continent – politically, economically and culturally.’1 The Western Balkans – or Central Eastern Europe, as many would prefer the area to be called – is a key target region of the mobilkom austria group, as are the ten new EU member states, a market of 75 million people. At the same time, the enlargement of the EU was the decisive step to ﬁnally overcome the historically grown divide between Eastern and Western Europe. Referring to Western Europe on the one hand and to Eastern Europe on the other hand already seems like an anachronism – the traditional connotations of Eastern Europe are deﬁnitely diminishing. I think that our company, mobilkom austria, exempliﬁes this breakdown of barriers. For full political uniﬁcation to happen, it...