The eastwards expansion of the European Union is one of the most explosive economic and political issues of the early 21st century. Economic and financial stability combined with rising prosperity in the applicant countries are increasingly seen as necessary preconditions for European Union membership. This volume, written by scholars and practitioners from Central and Western Europe and the USA, confronts the issues involved in three of the countries most likely to be successful applicants - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. A spotlight is turned on the banking and financial industries, as they are crucial to the achievement of economic stability. The text is based on knowledge and experience in central banking, financial and commercial law, business, practical policy-making, and economic analysis. The authors suggest that the role of the state in both creating and maintaining an effective financial sector is crucial. Furthermore, they argue that well-regulated commercial banks and strategic foreign investors are a must as, in practice, the attempt to skip straight to modern capital markets has been ruinous.