Elsa Tulmets

After joining the European Union in 2004 or 2007, all Central and Eastern European countries have expressed their will to transfer their experience of democratization, transition to market economy and introduction of the rule of law to other regions in transition. They have influenced in particular the launching of an EU policy towards the East, which was so far rather absent, and of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2003. The rhetoric developed is particularly strong and visible, but what about the implementation of the aid policies to transition? Which reality does the political discourse entail, both in its bilateral and multilateral dimensions? Central and Eastern European countries do not represent a homogeneous bloc of countries and have constructed their foreign policy discourse on older ideological traditions and different geographical priorities. Despite the commitment of a group of actors from civil society and reforms in the field of development policy, the scarce means at disposal would need to be better mobilized in order to meet expectations. In the context of the economic crisis, the search for a concensus on interests to protect and means to mobilize, like through the Visegrad Group and other formats like the Weimar Triangle, appears to be a meaningful option to follow in order to reinforce the coherence of foreign policy actions implemented.

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