Real Convergence and European Integration: The Experience of the Less Developed EU Members

Martin C & Sanz I (2001). Real Convergence and European Integration: The Experience of the Less Developed EU Members. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-01-065

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Abstract

This study aims at providing an assessment about real convergence across countries and regions in the EU, focusing more specifically on the four cohesion EU members (Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece), since they seem to be more appropriate to draw lessons for the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). The results obtained when making an assessment of real convergence in the EU, both at country and regional level, show that in the course of the last few years a process of convergence has taken place between the per capita income levels of the EU regions and also, to a larger extent, of the Member States. Nevertheless, also marked differences could be identified: Ireland is undoubtedly the most successful of the four, while Greece showed the least satisfactory performance.

In this respect, the differences that may be observed between these countries suggest that advances in real convergence are far from being a spontaneous outcome of the accession to the EU, but largely determined by the growth strategy implemented by the countries themselves. Lastly, our study suggests that the Communitys regional policy has played a significant role in favor of real convergence between the Member States of the EU. However, the experience of Greece indicates that the impact of EUs financial assistance on the beneficiary countries depends not only on its amount, but also on the efficiency with which its allocation is carried out.

One important lesson to be drawn is that the accession is likely to contribute significantly to improving the possibilities of the current CEECs candidates in aligning their per capita income levels with those of the more advanced current EU members. However, we have also learnt that the prospects of growth and income convergence towards EU levels in the current candidates will depend crucially on the measures taken by each country, and particularly on their capacity to invest more and more efficiently.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Economic Transition and Integration (ETI)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:13
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 21:40
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/6459

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