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This paper aims at investigating the role of different trade regimes in determining the bilateral trade of Western Balkan countries and the enlarged European Union between 2001—2010. Special focus is laid on the intra-regional trade of Western Balkan countries and complementarities of this sub-regional trade integration and the EU accession process. Using panel data, we estimated the gravity model of bilateral exports from Western Balkan and Central Eastern European countries to the core EU members in the 2001–2010 period. The results confirm the importance of EU membership for the development of acceding countries’ trade and shed light on asymmetrical trade regimes as important factors of boosting the bilateral trade flows. Additionally, CEFTA 2006 has a significant contribution to intra-regional Western Balkans trade.

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Countries that are candidates for EU accession face a complex and urgent task to adopt and implement the acquis communautaireon food safety. For the food industries in Candidate Countries, this implies that EU standards of food production and processing, quality and safety have to be met in order to ensure a high level of consumer protection and satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to assess progress towards new levels of food safety performance in one Candidate Country, Hungary, in one food sector (fresh produce), and evaluate the capacity of the system to demonstrate quality assurance to the satisfaction of private customers and public regulators. The analysis of food safety performance has been undertaken using a novel application of the benchmarking methodology taking the UK fresh produce importing chain as the benchmark.

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Turkey faces a tremendous pressure for adjusting its governance structure to the EU accession requirements. The challenge seems to touch upon some core aspects of political transformation such as the emergence and self-organising power of an autonomous civil society, and the mobilisation of societal actors beyond the national boundaries on European level. The European impact on the governmental logic also corresponds with an extremely fragile process of consolidation of democracy in Turkey. However, Turkish democracy is still fragile and far from being consolidated. In this context, the paper argues that a successful process of consolidation of democracy is conditioned by three factors: (1) a moderation of the demands of the social forces in the country; (2) a governmental strategy based on the accommodation of these demands with a tolerant political perspective; and (3) a serious engagement by the leading circles with the problems of governance in the country both in the centre and on the periphery.

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Meyer-Sahling, J. (2009): Sustainability of Civil Service Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe Five Year after EU Accession. Sigma Papers , No. 44. OECD Publishing. Pollitt, C. et al. (2004): Agencies. How

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Bachev, H. (2006): Governing of Bulgarian Farms — Modes, Efficiency, Impact of EU Accession. In: Curtiss — Balmann — Dautzenberg — Happe (eds): Agriculture in Face of Changing Markets, Institutions and

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Analysis into the sources of lower levels of national productivities between Central and Eastern European economies and the European Union is scarce and lacks comparability. These sources are assessed by analysing the role played by sectoral structures. After providing a brief overview of comparative levels of economy-wide labour productivity between the EU-15 average, selected EU cohesion countries and the EU accession countries of Estonia, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary and Slovenia, a quantitative account of the sectoral content of the national productivity gap is calculated. The paper develops a method to calculate the explanatory power of patterns of sectoral structures for the size of the productivity gap by hypothetically applying average EU-15 sectoral patterns on Central and Eastern European economies’ sectoral productivities. Subsequently, the respective roles of individual sectors in explaining the national productivity gaps are calculated by assigning weights to sectoral productivity gaps relative to their employment shares. These results are then carefully assessed in terms of potentials and prospects for swift and complete productivity catch-up and in terms of the most efficient policies to assist productivity convergence.

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In post socialist countries that now form the eastern member states of the European Union there was a general vision of the society from the early nineties to catch up to the developed West. The dream of reaching the level of western European economic development and living standards was the main driver for economic transition and EU integration. In spite of modest convergence, however, the difference between the West and the East has remained dominant until today, ten years after the EU accession, while the core—periphery duality is also an important economic-geographic dimension in the European single market. The changing relative position of these regions in economic terms and the interrelation between the East and West of the EU is in the focus of this paper. It addresses some specifics of regional economic development of this area and particularly of Hungary at both macroregional and regional levels paying attention to the economic crisis which started in 2007. In most of the eastern bloc, economic transition and EU integration were associated with several challenges and followed by imbalanced regional development as a result of the dominant role of the foreign direct investments in regional development, which led to the territorial concentration and increase of regional inequalities among regions within these countries.

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The paper provides a general evaluation of inflation targeting in Poland with some reference to challenges faced by major central banks. First, it argues that inflation targeting has proved to be relatively successful in Poland and attributes this success to a bias towards the aggressive mitigation of inflationary risks, whenever they have arisen. Second, it briefly explains why the National Bank of Poland does not need to search for an alternative to inflation targeting. Then, it presents the negative aspects of the price level targeting and nominal GDP targeting. Third, it refers to the post- EU accession experience of Poland as being supportive for the “leaning against the wind” approach to monetary policy conducting. Fourth, it argues that such an approach is supported by evidence on the effects of the crisis’ outburst and aggressive interest rate cuts on trust in central banks. Fifth, it indicates the determinants of slow post-crisis restructuring and persistently high uncertainty as desired priorities in the research agenda in central banks.

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EU funds have been an important component of economic landscapes in the new member states (NMS) after their EU accession in 2004. A review of funds allocated to NMS under the 2007–2013 financial perspective shows a substantial growth in nominal terms. The increase relative to the GDP of the beneficiary countries is much more modest. This implies that the economic impact could be less spectacular than expected. From this viewpoint, it is crucial to ensure high absorption and efficient allocation of Structural Funds which are gaining importance in total transfers. Different frameworks established by NMS to manage EU funds show that there is no one-fits-all model. Experiences with absorption of Structural Funds in NMS have been mixed, with no conclusive evidence for superiority of any particular approach. NMS tend to streamline their initial frameworks to improve absorption, a reasonable approach to help utilise the increasing 2007–2013 allocations. At the end of the day, the goal of EU transfers is increasing growth potential. This dimension could be captured by economic models. While they are useful analytical tools, the results could differ a lot and should be taken with a grain of salt given the problems of model specification and calibration for NMS. Finally, the experience of old member states shows that high inflows of EU funds could not substitute, but only complement, good economic policies.

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Az OECD a magyar gazdaságpolitika alakításában: tanácsadó, támogató vagy korlátozó szerep?

OECD’s Role in Hungarian Economic Policy Making: Advisory, Supporting or Constraining?

Educatio
Author:
Péter Ákos Bod

Összefoglaló. Az OECD rendszeresen értékeli a tagországok gazdasági helyzetét és gazdaságpolitikáját, munkacsoportjaiban döntéselőkészítő és -elemző munkát végez. Fő kérdésünk: A munkakapcsolatok és a politikai szintű konzultációk milyen mértékben és módon hatottak a magyar kormányzati működésre, gazdaságpolitikai gyakorlatra? Az OECD a mandátuma és tagságának összetétele folytán nem integrációs szervezet, eltérően az EU-tól, hitelforrásokkal sem rendelkezik, mint a Világbank és az IMF, tanácsadóként azonban jelentős, különösen az EU-tagságunk előtti időszakban. Az együttműködés jellemzői sokat változtak, részben az OECD szerepfelfogásának módosulásai, főként a változó magyar viszonyok és módosuló kormányzati törekvések nyomán. Az OECD újabban mindinkább globális érdekegyeztető, normaalkotó és szabályozó jelleget ölt; ilyen feladatköreiben gyakran ütközik a 2010 utáni magyar szuverenitáselvű politikai felfogással és nem szokványos gazdaságpolitikai gyakorlattal.

Summary. The OECD periodically surveys the economy and economic policy of its members, provides decision support and analysis. The main issue addressed here: in what ways and to what extent has the practice of professional collaboration and high-level policy dialogues influenced the Hungarian government and its economic policymaking practice. The OECD, given its mandate and its membership, is not, unlike the EU, an integration organization, and it does not allocate funds, unlike the World Bank and IMF, yet as policy advisor it has been influential, particularly in the years before EU accession. The profile of the collaboration between successive Hungarian governments and the OECD has changed a lot, due to shifts in the mandate of the OECD, but mostly because of changes in Hungary’s situation and government policy lines. The OECD has increasingly assumed global interest harmonization, norm-setting and regulatory roles; as a result, tensions have become common due to the Hungarian government’s pro-sovereignty stand and non-conventional economic policy measures since 2010.

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