European Economic Integration and South-East Europe
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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.
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Chapter 1: South-East Europe: signs of catching up

Michael A. Landesmann


Michael A. Landesmann INTRODUCTION The 1990s was a decade in which South-East Europe (SEE)1 fell dramatically behind the more advanced transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia – we shall call them the CEE-5). The cause was, of course, the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, which included a succession of wars, regional conflicts and economic and political disintegration. Even the countries of the region which were not directly involved in these conflicts, such as Bulgaria and Romania, suffered significantly in terms of interrupted trade routes and the disintegration and collapse of a neighbouring economic region. Since 2000 things have improved. The growth of GDP in SEE over the most recent period (2000–2004) has even been higher than in the CEE-5; and in quite a few of the countries the most recent growth rates have been in the region of 5–7 per cent (Table 1.1). There has even been some significant improvement in industrial production in SEE with the exception of Macedonia and Serbia over that period (see Table 1.2). Hence a catchingup process has started, and in all the contributions to this book on this issue, a positive tone as to the prospects of the SEE region has been adopted. Table 1.1 provides the information regarding GDP levels in the years 2000 and 2004 in relation to 1990 (ϭ100). It shows that with the exception of Albania, only some of the SEE economies had rebounded to their 1990...

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