Does EU membership facilitate convergence?

11  March 2021    4:00 pm CET

Discussing the experience of the EU‘s eastern enlargement and the challenges of the future.


This is an online event. The panel discussion will be streamed as a YouTube Livestream and can be watched via this page. Questions can be asked via Please register for reminders and e-mail updates.


You may ask questions during the session via using the hashtag #convergence.

The panel will discuss the challenges CEE countries face in the post-Covid environment to tackle the issues of economic and social convergence as EU members or as candidates. A just published two-volume edited book 'Does EU Membership Facilitate Convergence? The Experience of the EU's Eastern Enlargement' (see vol.1, vol.2) looked into the lessons of the past decade and a half. Based on the main findings of this volume, the panel will attempt to discuss the challenges of the period ahead.

The following questions will be addressed:

  • How can economic convergence be better linked with social convergence, and through this preserve the coherence of the EU? What is the role of institutional convergence in this regard?
  • How can enlargement help the EU to strengthen its economic potential while also strengthening its cohesion? What are the main lessons of the 2004-2013 Eastern enlargement for future waves of enlargement?
  • How can going green and digital in the post-Covid environment accelerate convergence and support coherence?
  • How can the EU with its heterogeneous membership strengthen internal coherence in the changing geo-political and geo-economic global setting?

The presentation will be held in English.

The panelists

Beata Javorcik
As the EBRD’s Chief Economist, Beata Javorcik is responsible for advising the President and other senior members of the Bank’s management team on economic issues of strategic relevance to the EBRD regions. Dr Javorcik is on leave from the University of Oxford, where she holds a Statutory Professorship in Economics (the first woman in this position) and is a Fellow of All Souls College. She is a member of the Royal Economic Society’s Executive Committee and a Director of the International Trade Programme at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale and a B.A. in Economics (Summa cum Laude) from the University of Rochester.

Debora Revoltella
Director of the Economics Department of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Since her arrival at the EIB in 2011, Debora Revoltella has designed and led the work for flagship publications such as the EIB Investment Report, a series of policy working papers and other regional specific research. Debora Revoltella holds a degree in Economics and a Master in Economics from Bocconi University as well as a PhD in Economics from the University of Ancona in Italy. In 2001, she joined UniCredit as the Chief Economist for Central and Eastern Europe. Debora Revoltella is member of the Steering Committees of the Vienna Initiative and the CompNet.

Jan Svejnar
James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy and Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia University. He is also a founder and Chairman of CERGE-EI in Prague. He is a Fellow of the European Economic Association and a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research (London) and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn. He served as Co-Director of the Transition Programme at the Center for Economic Policy Research in London and President of the Association for Comparative Economic Studies. Prior to joining the faculty of Columbia University, Jan Svejnar was the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Administration and Director of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. Before Michigan, Jan Svejnar was professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University. He received MA and PhD in Economics from Princeton University.

István P. Székely
István P. Székely is Honorary Professor at Corvinus University of Budapest, and Principal Adviser at the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission. Before joining the European Commission, he worked at the International Monetary Fund and in the National Bank of Hungary. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on financial market and macroeconomic policy issues and on Central and Eastern European economies.

Moderator: Michael Landesmann
Senior Research Associate, former Scientific Director (1996-2016), of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), and Professor of economics at the Johannes Kepler University, Austria. He has a D.Phil. from Oxford University and taught and researched at Cambridge University’s Department of Applied Economics and Jesus College, Cambridge. His research focuses on international economic integration, industrial structural change, labour markets and migration.