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Macroeconomic Imbalances and EU Convergence

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Closing remarks at 2nd Annual CBBH Research Conference “Macroeconomic Imbalances and EU Convergence”

It is a great honor for me to give closing remarks at this important Conference. However, it is a tough task after all those interesting presentations, papers, discussions etc.

The bad news is I am afraid that despite Einstein’s concept of relativity of time I would kindly request your attention for several more minutes of so called absolute Newtonian time. Good news is I will not summarize what has been said so far, but will attempt to give this Conference a broader perspective by answering three questions: 1) When did it all start? 2) Is “converging” towards EU still a valid goal? and 3) Where do we go from here?

1) When did it all start?

I mean when did convergence toward EU start, not macroeconomic imbalances. I guess that since the beginning of time we had imbalances even without being aware of them or being able to measure them. But what about convergence? Convergence towards EU started with the Fall of the Berlin wall. Almost to a day (09. November 1989.), three decades ago a historical event happened for the World, more so for large part of Europe and especially for this part of Europe. The Berlin wall, symbol of divided Europe but Cold war as well has been demolished. This physical and ideological divide which stood from 1961 to 1989 has fallen. Thus, started the process of transition and consequently EU convergence. True, the then Yugoslavia was not part of the Warsaw Pact, it was not strictly speaking “behind the Iron Curtain”, but it was not a liberal democracy with flourishing and efficient private ownership market economy either.

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