The European Community, Eastern Europe, and Russia: Economic and Political Changes

The European Community, Eastern Europe, and Russia: Economic and Political Changes

The European Community, Eastern Europe, and Russia: Economic and Political Changes

The European Community, Eastern Europe, and Russia: Economic and Political Changes

Synopsis

Europe is undergoing dramatic economic and political changes. This work discusses structural changes and main problems and developments in relationships between the European Community (EC) and Eastern Europe. Part I deals with the EC, mainly the West European democracies, and gives an historical framework for formation and expansion of this group. Part II deals individually with the East European and troubled Balkan countries. Part III deals with the European countries in the former USSR.

Excerpt

Europe is undergoing drastic economic and geopolitical changes that present problems of worldwide dimensions. Since the dawn of history, Europe has played a vital role in the formation and development of economic and sociocultural world events. Although centuries have passed and a unified Europe remains largely a dream, the near future can prove that yesterday's dreams may become the realities of tomorrow and all nations of the continent may merge and form a United States of Europe.

The potential effects of the integration of Western Europe on the rapid opening of Eastern Europe and Russia are expected to dramatically change global economic, political, and cultural relations. The removal of technical, monetary, and trade barriers within the European Community (EC) and the liberalization of the economies of the East European countries, including those of the Balkan Peninsula and Russia, create challenges and opportunities from the standpoint of trade, investment, and economic growth. However, as the EC moves toward closer economic and political integration, the question is whether the bloc will eliminate internal barriers only to create a larger barrier around the Community.

The vision of a community of unified and prosperous European democracies, ready to face the growing competition from the United States, Canada, and Mexico because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Asian-Pacific Rim (Japan and other neighboring countries) can be realized through EC enlargement and eventual integration of all European nations.

The new trends toward privatization and democratization of property ownership in the previously centrally planned economies of Europe facilitate the process of EC enlargement. Similar measures of privatization of state enter-

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