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 2: South-East Europe on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration

Erhard Busek


2. South-East Europe on the way to Euro–Atlantic integration Erhard Busek The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe – which was established at the EU’s initiative in Sarajevo in July 1999 – and the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative – which was launched in December 1996 as a regional initiative by the United States to back the implementation of the Dayton Agreement – have both been success stories. Of course, there have been shortcomings, but what is more important is that we have achieved a lot. Following four wars in the region, the map of South-East Europe has been redrawn substantially and improvements have been brought about in a comparatively short time. Today, many ministerial meetings convene former opponents in war. I think this is an impressive development despite the fact that we still have to wait for full reconciliation to take place. That is of course the ultimate objective. But I think things are moving in the right direction. My message is the following: Let’s focus on the positive developments! What has been achieved in South-East Europe over the past decade? Firstly, the process of democratization is certainly irreversible. All the elections are monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and are conducted in a free and fair manner. But some uncertainties still exist of course; for instance, the party landscape has not reached a consolidation phase, it is moving, similarly to other European countries. Secondly, the region was given a clear European perspective at the Thessaloniki European Council in...

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