Competitiveness Strategies, Resource Struggles, and National Interest in the New Europe

David Ellison


Within the context of neofunctionalist and intergovernmental models, European integration—and thus membership in the European Club—is typically seen as a win-win proposition. Viewed through the lens of economic models based on increasing returns or literature on the developmental state, the advantages of European integration become more ambiguous. This essay argues that the incorporation of the Central and East European states into the European Union ultimately favors Western interests. Based on an analysis of Hungary’s Great Transformation, I evaluate the compatibility of the EU policy framework with Hungarian and other Central and East European interests in economic development. Forced to abandon many competitiveness tools, new member states may fi nd the EU policy framework less accommodating and quite possibly more constraining. Western states benefi t from the enlargement by raising the degree of policy control over Eastern states.

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