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

By Helena Tang | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Portugal’s European Integration:
Lessons for Future Enlargements1

Jorge Braga de Macedo Faculty of Economics, Nova University at Lisbon


Introduction

European integration has combined deepening economic interdependence and mutual political responsiveness among EU members and widening membership. After the fall of the Berlin Wall significantly increased the potential for membership, however, fears surfaced that, if the EU simultaneously pursued deepening and widening, negative spillovers would more than offset the benefits from positive spillovers. The EU, therefore, adopted sequential approaches. Yet, if faster widening proves unacceptable to members and faster deepening hurts the expectations of candidate nations, chances are that both will continue to stall.

The requirements for accession are essentially a well-functioning, competitive economy and democratic institutions. In other words, they describe the aim of economic and political transition. The preparedness for subscribing to the legal framework of the EU, in turn, includes very detailed and demanding obligations. Some of them require the strengthening and adjustment of public institutions, for instance, regarding the regulation of product standards or of competition. Others will have strong implications, particularly for infrastructure, enterprises, and financial institutions.2

As shown below by the example of Portugal, where financial institutions were fully state-owned until accession, these institutions will be expected to perform to higher standards of financial strength and transparency than at present. They will

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