The Challenges and Rewards of EU Integration International Conference on CEE Economic Development in Celebration of the 425th Anniversary of Vilnius University

Journal for East European Management Studies, October 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Challenges and Rewards of EU Integration International Conference on CEE Economic Development in Celebration of the 425th Anniversary of Vilnius University


Vilnius University, founded in 1579, is thought to be one of the oldest universities in the Central and East European region. This year, in commemoration of the 425th anniversary of the university and the 200th anniversary of the establishment of economic studies at the university, the Economics Faculty hosted an international conference, entitled "Catalysts and Impediments of Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe," held on October 14-16, 2004.

The anniversary could not have come at a better time. With the accession often new member states to the European Union, scholars and practitioners throughout the region had much to consider and debate. What does EU membership mean for the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries? What are the impacts of policy changes for the economies of these countries? Will EU membership result in a shift in competitiveness in the region? Which countries will benefit most and why? What are the benefits and challenges associated with the new Europe and how will these affect investment, labor, and the public sector, for example? Although reforms in the CEE countries have been ongoing for well over a decade, it is apparent that we have still only scratched the surface and have much yet to learn about and from one another. Just under 100 participants from 25 countries gathered to discuss the impact of EU membership on the economies of the newly admitted countries. Lively discussions centered on six main themes:

* Fiscal and monetary policies: impacts on growth

* Competitiveness: changes, trends and factors of influence

* Social policy and economics of the public sector

* Influence of economic sciences on economic development

* Prospects for business

* Marketing theory and practice

Attendance by scholars from throughout the world illustrated the importance of EU enlargement not only for the CEE countries. Among distinguished guests at the conference were the Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who provided a thorough overview of Lithuania's road to EU integration, the obstacles already hurdled and the challenges that still lie ahead. …

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