Gilles Lepesant

The Central European model of development has until recently rested on a low interest rates, significant increases in consumption, heavy dependence on capital inflows, open markets especially towards Western Europe, and for some specialization in cyclical industries (automobiles). The crisis has highlighted on the one hand the growing divergence between the countries of Central Europe and on the other their high level of interdependence which has necessitated cooperation in their relations with the EU. While Western Europe is unlikely to experience a repeat of the 1930s, it is possible that recovery will prove illusory as it did between the two world wars. Witness the case of the automobile sector which became a major contributor to GDP and source of in Central Europe but whose future prospects are uncertain. Regional policies of which new member states are the beneficiaries should, in theory, encourage innovation, pro-employment policies, and sustainable development as means to ensuring recovery

Enlargement today is a priority on the European agenda. Examining Portugal and Greece from a comparative perspective with respect to Poland, this Study analyzes the original and specific paths each of these national configurations have taken as regards administrative and institutional changes, particularly through the regional dimension, policy reorientations and modes of government. Given the large body of acquis communautaire that must be integrated, the nature of Commission involvement and the highly regulatory nature of European directives, this dimension emerges as the most significant in the process of Europeanization: public administration acts as a filter in this dynamic and nation-states are paradoxically strengthened by European integration. This comparison is an opportunity to underscore the importance of innovations and the singularity of modes of government, suggesting that certain arrangements put into practice in cohesion countries may provide sources of inspiration for the new entrants, which are faced with similar problems of administrative competence, bureaucratic blockages and political and state legacies that are remote from the European model of public administration, civil service organization and rules. With the effect of European constraints, a threefold dynamic is at work: a dynamic of delegation, or privatization, through the creation of agencies, offices and institutes, a dynamic of politicized (re)centralization, and a dynamic of political, institutional and social innovation. Thus components of these models are constantly borrowed and reshaped, hybrid constructions are formed and configurations take shape that are no less European than what can be found in the “heart” of Europe.