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Structural Challenges for Europe
Recalling the Lisbon strategy defining structural reform in the EU, and stressing the need to integrate the acceding countries in the reform process, this book argues that meeting the ambitious challenges set is not impossible. It scrutinises both reforms already undertaken and those yet to be tackled. The main thrust of the book is that the sharing of mutual experiences is important for generating an acceptable policy mix, both at EU and national levels. The contributors highlight key financial issues, including the role of FDI and of foreign banks in the still 'under-banked' acceding countries, the re-launch of social security systems and the fiscal challenges of financing the catch-up process. They also examine the ongoing EU debate surrounding the application of the Stability and Growth Pact in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and go on to explore the contrasting evidence that some CEECs have shown more extensive privatisation efforts than some EU countries.
Linking general theory and empirical research with practical evidence from EU and acceding countries, this accessible volume will be invaluable to a wide-ranging readership, encompassing economists and specialists - whether academic or professional - in the fields of CEECs and European integration and enlargement, as well as governments, banks and international organisations.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This is a very timely and valuable set of studies by a distinguished group of scholars and practitioners on the subject of economic convergence and divergence in Europe. Not surprisingly given the high calibre of the contributors, the quality of the individual chapters is very high, making this an impressive volume which I recommend without reservation. The book combines both sophisticated theoretical appraisals of the central questions relating to convergence and divergence in Europe, together with incisive analyses of the policy implications for individual countries and for the wider Europe. It is of great topical relevance, because it addresses these issues in the context of impending EU enlargement and also in relation to economic and monetary union (a substantial number of contributors hold very senior positions in European national banks and two in the European Central Bank). The writing style is clear and accessible and therefore the book should appeal to both specialists and non-specialists. Indeed, it deserves to command a wide audience (including students, academics, policy analysts and practitioners). The contributors must be congratulated on producing an incisive, wide ranging and accessible analysis of the key issues relating to economic convergence and divergence in Europe.' -- Robert A. Jones, Sheffield Hallam University, UK 'Based on the Autumn 2002 East-West Conference in Vienna, an excellent annual event organised by the Austrian National Bank, this volume deals comprehensively (in 8 parts and 29 chapters) with socio-economic structural challenges facing an expanding EU. Issues covered include: competitiveness and the Lisbon goals; financial sector development; financing enlargement and catching up; tax, benefits and welfare reform; enterprise sector reform; the adequacy of the policy mix; and looking to the future. An ambitious agenda and a big book that will attract widespread readership from academics and their students, practitioners and policymakers.' -- Andrew W. Mullineux, Bournemouth University, UK