Faces of convergence

27 May 2019

15 years on, a new e-book presents personal accounts of the EU’s eastern enlargement.

Edited by István P. Székely

The Faces of Convergence e-book is a collection of 34 short essays by people who made major contributions to the process of convergence in the countries that joined the EU in the three waves of eastern enlargement. Contributors come from business, government, banking, research, higher education, and civil society. They share their views on the impact of the EU on the convergence process.

Key messages

  • EU membership can help speed up convergence to the global frontier through several channels, such as trade, investment, financial integration and institutional reforms.
  • The opinions of the contributors differ with regard to which of these channels have worked and to what extent, but they all agree that the EU has made a tangible difference.
  • Whatever advantages EU membership may have, such advantages are not automatic, nor guaranteed.
  • Many contributors also emphasise the significant social and political challenges of the process. These have been more apparent in some countries than others.
  • It is always up to the country concerned to take full advantage of the opportunities the EU may offer. Like in many other areas, national policies matter a lot.

On the project

The e-book was put together as part of a joint research project of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), and the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) and the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) of the European Commission. It was edited by István P. Székely. He is Principal Advisor in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs.