Tag Archives: Central and Eastern Europe

The Economic and Financial Crisis – the EU Legal Perspective

A new, useful report by Prof. Sideek Mohamed Seyad provides a legal analysis of the global financial crisis from a European perspective.

According to Prof. Seyad, it is difficult to coordinate a common approach in an emergency situation under the EU legal system. One of the reasons is that the European Union has no competence to legislate in some areas, such as taxation. In other sectors, such as the cross-border provision of banking services, regulation is to a great extent handled at the national level.

The report says that in responding to the crisis, national interests began to override the broader goal of European integration as Member States adopted various measures to protect their own industries.

A general conclusion is that the future stability and unity of the EU would largely depend on the restoration of normalcy in the eastern part of its territory.

The Unfinished Business of the Fifth Enlargement

There is a new comparative report by the European Policies Initiative under the project “The Unfinished Business of the Fifth Enlargement”.

The report finds that the “unfinished business” in the new member states from Eastern Europe concerns mainly the policy areas of national competence (political systems, social, educational, health reforms and sustainable economic development) that have been relatively neglected by decision-makers in the pre-accession period for the sake of the accession agenda.

The report further claims that the deficiencies in the political domain have predetermined a framework of very fragile political systems where fragmented political parties with short-term political lives are unable to commit to long-term and consistent reforms.

An interesting claim is that the membership leverage is very limited with regard to its impact on the “unfinished business” of the transition agenda in the post accession period. In this sense the only potentially effective membership leverage on the NMS can be the Euro area accession.

Eastern European Intellectuals’ Open Letter to Obama

A group of Eastern European intellectuals, including Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, have signed an open letter to the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The letter says that Central and Eastern European countries are no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. The authors believe that Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region. They say that the United States is likely to lose many of its traditional interlocutors in the region. The most important message in the letter is that the danger is that Russia’s creeping intimidation and influence-peddling in the region could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region.

The letter calls for a renaissance of NATO as the most important security link between the United States and Europe.