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Friday, 21st February 2014

Central Europe Fit for the Future: Visegrad Group Ten Years after EU Accession

Source: DemosEUROPA

From Executive Summary:

Central Europe is one of the European Union’s most astounding success stories. Ten years after accession, the region speaks confidently for itself in Europe and in the wider world. Our countries have built on their historical legacy of resilience and adaption to the jarring changes after 1989. Central Europe is now a growth engine for the wider EU economy. Thanks to the continued “catch-up” dynamic, consisting of lower wage costs, well trained labour force, healthier banking sector, and less public and private debt, our economies are expected to continue growing faster than Western Europe. The combined GDP of the four Visegrád Group countries already makes them the world’s 15th-biggest economy.

Our second decade in the EU requires new plans and ambitions. Central Europe should aim high—not just to match its counterparts, but wherever possible come up with a better proposition. The EU is very different than it was in 2004. Now is the time to capitalise on the opportunities which this relative economic strength affords.

This report calls for the refashioning of the region’s growth model with a focus on a dramatic enhancement of its global competitiveness and innovation capacity. Closer ties with Austria on the one hand and the Nordic-Baltic countries on the other would be especially important in that effort.

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