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 16: Foreign direct investment and trade as pivotal elements for catching up and competitiveness in CEE

Boris Nemsic


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...

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