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This article presents the transformation of foreign trade in 10 post-socialist countries, current members of the EU. Special focus is given to the more significant role these countries began to play in global value chains (GVCs) as a result of liberalisation processes and integration within the EU. In addition, the article evaluates their place in global vertical specialisation. To locate each country on a global value chain and to compare them with selected countries, more complex methods of measuring the level of participation of European post-socialist countries in GVCs were employed. These methods allow the position of a country downstream or upstream in GVCs to be established. We concluded that (a) post-socialist countries differ in the levels of their participation in GVCs. Countries that have stronger links with Western European countries, especially with Germany, are more integrated; (b) a large share of post-socialist countries’ exports pass through Western European GVCs; (c) most exporters in Central and Eastern Europe are positioned in downstream segments of production rather than upstream markets.

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Business cycle synchronisation and the similarity in the sectoral structure of exports are key conditions for the successful implementation of common monetary policy, as shown by the theory of Optimum Currency Areas. This paper examines the degree of correlation between the aggregate euro area and 12 member states’ business cycles and the role of their exports specialisation dynamics vis-à-vis the euro area over the period 1981–2012, focusing in particular on Southern European countries. Overall, we find that since the inception of the European Monetary Union, the business cycles of euro area member states have been increasingly synchronised with the aggregate euro area cycle, with the exception of Greece. We also document that changes in the Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish export structures brought these countries closer to the euro area structure as a whole. Furthermore, we find a positive and significant relationship between the similarity of export structures and GDP cyclical correlations.

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This paper tests a neo-Heckscher-Ohlin versus a neo-Ricardian framework for explaining vertical intra-industry trade. The study applies panel techniques with instrument variables to analyse trade between ‘old’ EU and 10 Central-East European countries in their post-transition period. Results show country-pair fixed effects to be of high relevance for explaining vertical intra-industry trade. Technology differences are positively, while differences in factor endowment, measured in GDP per capita, are negatively correlated with vertical intra-industry trade, and confirm the relevance of the neo-Ricardian approach. In addition, changing bilateral differences in personal income distribution during the transition of Central-East European countries towards a market economy contribute to changes in vertical intra-industry trade.

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The paper investigates the role of regionalization and regional identity in the endeavours of emerging economies to connect successfully to the global world economy. It addresses the question of whether the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with its loose institutional integration framework, has contributed to the global integration of its very heterogenous members in the first decade of the 21st century — and, if so, what are the drivers behind this. The paper summarizes connecting theories, using a multidisciplinary approach, and uses descriptive statistical analysis to identify the achievements of the ASEAN-6 countries within global trade and foreign direct invesment (FDI) flows in the given time period. We suggest that ASEAN countries, with their efforts to initiate interconnecting regional organizations in Asia, most specifically the ASEAN+3 (APT) construction, did contribute to greater integratedness of member countries; and they have created a regional image with a common market and production base. Such achievements, however, can be in great part attributed to the micro-level activities of international and regional firms wishing to establish cross-border production networks in these countries.

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The paper focuses on the effects of EU’s Eastern Enlargement of 2004 on trade convergence within the EU and among the new member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE-8). Using sigma-convergence approach, it finds evidence of convergence of exports and imports per capita as well as of productivity levels associated with the member states’ export baskets. Convergence of territorial and commodity structures of trade has not occurred; conversely, divergence has been observed, leading to the possible conclusion that multinational companies have adjusted their production structure in facilities across the EU to achieve higher economies of scale. Correlation analysis shows that revealed comparative advantages of the old and new member states have come closer to each other. As an example, the paper also offers a brief comparison of trade development in two CEE-8 countries, Latvia and Slovakia, after their entry into the EU.

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Europe and its southern neighbors

Interdependence, security and economic development in contemporary EU-MENA relations

Society and Economy
Author: Daniel Gugan

The paper analyzes European Union – Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA) relations from the perspective of complex interdependencies. As a theoretical framework, it outlines the application of Barry Buzan’s Security Complex Theory on the Euro-Mediterranean (or EU-MENA) region-pair. This involves the provision of a general overview on the several sectors of interdependence between the two regions, namely the military, political, economic, societal and environmental sectors. The paper then turns towards the deeper elaboration of the economic sector and identifies it as the most potent sector for European activism, where the Union could work most effectively on building a long-term solution for the stabilization of the MENA. As conclusions, the paper argues for a deeper economic integration between the two regions, which would provide opportunities for the MENA’s population to be economically successful “at home”, therefore reducing not only the highly visible migration pressure on the EU, but also other security threats such as civil wars, organized crime and weapon proliferation.

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As part of a wider research program, we analysed the theoretical framework and the recent developments of the process of internationalization (transnationalisation) of the small- and medium-sized enterprises in Spain. The paper highlights the main trends and barriers of this internationalization process. Methodology included document analyses, interviews, and the analyses of statistical databases.

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This essay attempts to go beyond presenting the bits and pieces of still ongoing crisis management in the EU. Instead it attempts at finding the ‘red thread’ behind a series of politically improvised decisions. Our fundamental research question asks whether basic economic lessons learned in the 1970s are still valid. Namely, that a crises emanating from either structural or regulatory weaknesses cannot and should not be remedied by demand management. Our second research question is the following: Can lacking internal commitment and conviction in any member state be replaced or substituted by external pressure or formalized procedures and sanctions? Under those angles we analyze the project on establishing a fiscal and banking union in the EU, as approved by the Council in December 2012.

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Acta Oeconomica
Authors: Miklós Somai and Zsuzsánna Biedermann

This paper reviews the deeper societal and economic reasons behind the British choice of leaving the European Union. We address the detailed results of the referendum and the long-standing sceptical British attitude towards European integration; next, we analyse the net budgetary contribution that changed enormously after the Eastern Enlargement. It is argued that the rise in the immigrantnative ratio had a significant impact on employee’s pay level in certain areas, therefore pro-Brexit campaigners highlighted migration as one of the major problems arising from EU membership. Increasing income and wealth inequalities and a growing anti-elite sentiment in British society, coupled with the negative image of Brussels bureaucrats and a British approach to the rule of law that is fundamentally different from the continental one, also contributed to the final result of the referendum. Our analysis ends with a glimpse into the close future, emphasising that the future of British-EU relations depends wholly on the pragmatism and wisdom of the negotiating parties.

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The series of adverse shocks of both economic and political character that Europe has suffered since 2008, the last of them coming from the Brexit referendum, revealed numerous institutional gaps and asymmetries in the EU integration architecture. They originate from the voluntary nature of the EU project and the necessity to obtain unanimous approval of all member states to take new integration steps. To increase the resilience of the EU project against current and future shocks, its major institutional gaps and asymmetries should be addressed as quickly as possible. In this paper, we use the theory of fiscal federalism and subsidiarity principle to set the agenda of the EU reform. This includes the identification of areas such as completing the EMU and Schengen projects, foreign, security, and defence policies, environmental and climate change policies where further integration can offer substantial returns to scale and better provisions of global and pan-European public goods. On the other hand, there are also areas such as agriculture policy, products, services and labour standards, and fiscal surveillance rules, where deregulation in favour of market forces could ease business environment and make EU regulations less bureaucratic. Developing integration beyond the traditional economic sphere will also have an impact on the size of the EU budget, balance of power between the EU governing bodies (a bigger role of the European Parliament) and the democratic legitimacy of the EU project.

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