The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 16 "The Developmental Impact of the EU Integration Regime: Insights from the Automotive Industry in Europe’s Peripheries" by László Bruszt, Julia Langbein, Visnja Vukov, Emre Bayram and Olga Markiewicz has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
How do diverse EU strategies used to integrate less developed economies in the Eastern peripheries of Europe effect local development? Introducing the distinction between ‘shallow’ and ‘deep’ EU integration regimes, we compare the evolution of the automotive sectors in four European countries (Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and Turkey). We show that diverse EU modes of integrating potential member states and economies without the clear prospect of membership create very different constraints and opportunities for developmental pathways. The shallow mode of integration used for countries lacking a (credible) membership perspective combines trade liberalization and selective rule imposition with very little assistance. It results in rather divergent developmental pathways for the EU ‘outsiders’ – depending on the stronger or weaker capacities of the domestic public and private actors. In contrast, we found that the deep mode of integration used for would be member states created more opportunities for convergence towards competitive industries, even in countries with weak initial domestic capacities.
Our insights imply that encompassing deep integration may yield not only superior developmental results, but may also increase the potential for further economic integration. In the shallow mode of integration the EU may, however, loose support for European integration among rule taking countries once citizens realize they cannot count on measures mitigating and/or compensating for present economic hardships. In countries like Ukraine, the EU therefore risks to become a factor of economic and political destabilization.
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