Winners and Losers of EU Integration: Policy Issues for Central and Eastern Europe

By Helena Tang | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
The Czech Republic

Petr Pavlik


Background

Three macroprocesses are under way simultaneously in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic (CR) is no exception in this respect. One is a multilevel and multidimensional transformation process. Another is the process of integration into the European Union. Both these processes are occurring in the context of the process of globalization. All three macroprocesses are strongly interrelated and, indeed, it is sometimes difficult or even impossible to distinguish and separate clearly the transformation, integration, and global influences on the economies and societies of the transition countries.

Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Romania were among the most hard-line communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. Even more so after the Soviet invasion of 1968, Czechoslovakia was one of the most loyal members of the Warsaw Pact and of Comecon. Before 1989, Czechoslovakia had only three political parties, with the Communist Party playing the lead role, as the Constitution provided.

The Czechoslovak economy had remained a typical Soviet-model, centrally planned economy, practically unreformed all the way until the changes of November 1989. Unlike Poland and Hungary, Czechoslovakia started its transformation process from a position of virtually complete state ownership of the economy. Only 1.2 percent of the labor force, 2 percent of all registered assets, and a

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