Musterknabe Osteuropa: Subventionskontrolle und staatliche Beihilfen
Ten years after the biggest enlargement in the history of the EU, the integration of the new member states is assessed positively. It is considered an economic success when looking at the income levels. However, due to overly optimistic assumptions and the crisis, economic integration and the catching-up process will take much longer for the new EU member states than originally expected. Moreover, new challenges are looming, especially as the Central and Eastern European accession countries adopt the euro. Smaller countries introduced the euro as quickly as possible, whereas larger countries have been much more hesitant, thinking twice not only because of several unsolved problems in the euro area but also because they use the exchange rate tool much more intensively. All new member states have to make sure they continue to increase their productivity and competitiveness. Findings suggest that after having entered the EU, the new eastern member states appear to have been developing rather stringent competition cultures. Bulgaria and Romania’s transition performance significantly differs from the pattern in the 2004 accession countries, both in terms of quantitative growth and institutional quality. These countries show that EU funds can be highly counter-productive since they help to conserve old structures.