Enlargement, Integration and Reform
Edited by Peter Leisink, Bram Stejin and Ulke Veersma
Chapter 5: Slovenia’s Integration in the European Market Economy: Gradualism and its ‘Rigidities’
5. Slovenia’s Integration into the European Market Economy: Gradualism and its ‘Rigidities’ Miroslav Stanojevic and Urban Vehovar INTRODUCTION Slovenia has endured many transitions since gaining its independence in 1991. Offe, for instance, sees the ‘triple transition’ of post-socialist regimes: the transition to statehood, the transition to a capitalist economy and the transition to a democratic political regime (Offe 1991). Similarly, Mrak, Rojec and Silva-Jauregui define Slovenia’s triple transition as the transition from the socialist to a market economy, plus the ‘parallel transitions from a regional to the national economy, and from being a part of SFR Yugoslavia to becoming an independent state and an aspiring member of the enlarged European Union’ (Mrak, Rojec and Silva-Jauregui 2004, p. xx). The latter, the transition to EU membership, can be viewed as crucial. From the very beginning, the process of Europeanization, perceived as the development of a social market economy, has strongly determined the Slovenian transition. This was consensually accepted among all the social actors and political parties who tacitly agreed that a ‘big bang’, i.e. a ‘shock therapy’ approach, was inappropriate for Slovenia’s inclusion in the European market economy. Constitutionally defined as a social market economy, Slovenia proceeded with a practice of historically-conditioned institutional isomorphism that strongly resembled the German model. At the same time, it was exposed to the constraints common to other European countries – the process of European monetary unification, unfavourable demographic trends, and also to the wider and well-known general escalation of international competition within a global market. Compared...
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