James Peters, Intern at the CRCE
‘Inhibited Transition’ organised by the CRCE, with generous support from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, was held at the picturesque Lake Bled in Slovenia over the weekend of the 25th-28th September 2004. The aim of the conference was to examine and discuss the progress made in Central and Eastern European countries fifteen years on from their transition to market economies.
number of participants attended, both those representing the region, as well as
those from the
paper presented by Vladimir Benacek and Alena Zemplinerova highlighted
the significant progress made by the CEECs despite the
many obstacles faced in moving towards a functioning market economy. However,
it was stressed that no one country has made a completely successful
transition. After a faltering start, the
combination of flows of foreign capital into the region, the creation of small
and medium sized enterprises and export growth has contributed to increased
development in the CEECs. In the case of advanced transition countries
there are now signs of possible convergence with
The role of
culture was discussed in a paper by Steve Pejovich in terms of institutional
restructuring in Central and
discussed in terms of recent NATO enlargement with discussion of security free
riding from smaller countries. The role of the EU was also questioned; with a
new world order emerging with regards to security, there was some ambiguity as
to where the EU belongs. Could it develop into a state ready to defend itself? The danger of ethnic conflicts was discussed
in a paper by Andrej Miholic
who examined the change in perception of security threats in the region.
Traditionally most at risk from war, the central and south eastern European
countries now face greater risk from internal ethnic conflict and post modern
threats such as economic crises and organized crime. Successful transition to market economies is vital
for the region in order to control these threats, as is increased dialogue at
an international a role role do now and then a The
transition process of the regions most developed country, Slovenia, was
discussed in a paper by Rado Pezdir.
Despite the gradualist policy initially helping to advance
Overall, the two days of the conference highlighted the great progress made by the CEECs since the collapse of communism. EU accession for eight of the CEECs, whether ultimately beneficial or not, has testified to this. However, it is clear that the process of transition is still a work in progress and will provide a multitude of challenges ahead for the region.