Sustainable development is an elusive concept that encompasses the macroeconomic and the social, as well as the environmental. It has become a defining principle of European socio-economic development, but is also beset by many uncertainties which bear on how it is interpreted in governance terms. This chapter reviews the governance of sustainable development in the EU in the light of the many uncertainties and conceptual ambiguities that surround policy-making in this area. Although sustainability offers an appealing conceptual framework for the socio-economic development of the EU, a key conclusion of the chapter is that it struggles to provide clear directions for decision-making. Nevertheless, it will remain important as a norm for the EU’s future development.
This chapter examines whether the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (CESEE), following their remarkable transformation of the previous quarter of a century, could play a pivotal role as an engine of growth for the European Union (EU) economy. It argues that while the recent growth of these countries gives grounds for optimism, shortcomings in innovation and possible deficiencies in skilled labour could be obstacles. The challenge in the coming years will lie in a further transition from the growth model that has served them well since 1990 to one orientated more towards innovative, knowledge-based activities. Policies will need to adapt to give more prominence to these objectives.
This chapter explores the economic theories and approach that justify Cohesion policy. It finds that the economic rationale has many dimensions, ranging from the treaty obligation to promote regional convergence, to more diffuse macroeconomic aims. The economic approach has also fluctuated over the years, with the latest emphasis being on boosting the collective investment effort of the European Union. This plethora of economic justifications for Cohesion policy makes it harder to assess its effectiveness.