RJEA, Vol. 12, no. 2, June 2012

The summer issue of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs gives us the opportunity to look at interesting topics related to: the European Cohesion Policy (a possible evaluation model); a comparative analysis of the South Eastern Europe economies facing the crisis; the national and European identity before and after the most recent EU enlargements; the presidents of the European Commission – between professional paths and political circumstances; and also to the theory of the optimum currency area and the practice of the Euro.

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European Cohesion Policy: A Proposed Evaluation Model

Alina Bouroşu (Costăchescu)

The current approach of European Cohesion Policy (ECP) is intended to be a bridge between different fields of study, emphasizing the intersection between “the public policy cycle, theories of new institutionalism and the new public management”. ECP can be viewed as a focal point between putting into practice the principles of the new governance theory, theories of economic convergence and divergence and the governance of common goods. After a short introduction of defining the concepts used, the author discussed on the created image of ECP by applying three different theories, focusing on the structural funds implementation system (SFIS), directing the discussion on the evaluation part of this policy, by proposing a model of performance evaluation of the system, in order to outline key principles for creating effective management mechanisms of ECP.

Keywords: Cohesion, efficiency, governing the commons, new governance, principal – agent, public policy, structural funds implementation system

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Comparative Analysis of South Eastern Europe Economies facing the Crisis. Future Prospects for the Region

Andreea Paul (Vass) , Ileana Alexe

This paper analyses the effects of the global economic crisis in ten South Eastern European countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia), within a European perspective. It also points out the main transmission channels of the economic crisis, by outlining the strong economic and financial ties with the EU, acting like contagion corridors in the event of global downturns. In terms of macroeconomic policy responses of the countries, these mainly led to increased fiscal deficits and public debts. Taking as benchmark the Romanian experience during the crisis, we outline several important structural reforms intended to boost competitiveness in the area. The paper concludes that, in spite of the recent negative evolutions, the SEE-10 region has an important economic potential for the future. In the final recommendations we explore the creativity potential of the region, as a strategic opportunity for putting the region on the global competitiveness map.

Keywords: competitiveness, economic crisis, growth, South Eastern Europe

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Changing Borders, Stable Attitudes: The National and European Identity Before and After the Most Recent EU Enlargements

Sergiu Gherghina

This article investigates whether changes occur in the national and European identities of the citizens from the old and new Member States following the 2004 and 2007 enlargements. Complementary, it seeks to identify the major attitudinal determinants of national and European identities for the EU citizens. The analysis focuses on the 27 EU Member States and uses individual level data from the 2002-2009 Candidate Countries and Standard Eurobarometers. The descriptive statistics and multivariate quantitative analyses reveal that no relevant changes occur in the levels of national and European identities. The two types of identities coexist and are shaped at various levels. Their determinants appear to be quite stable over time, thus indicating no major alterations after the enlargement.

Keywords: attitudinal determinants, EU enlargement, identity

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Les présidents de la Commission européenne: entre trajectoires professionnelles et circonstances politiques

Victor Negrescu

The important impact of the international economic crisis on the national European economies led to the strengthening of the role of the European Commission and of its president who started to play a double role by preserving the bureaucratic image while dynamically acting as a spokesman for the European austerity measures. This situation confirms the importance of the personality of the European leaders on the role they play at European level, therefore it would be important for us to study the social and professional background of the EC presidents to understand their role in the European Union’s evolution. This research will enable EU specialists to render more important the social dimension of their studies and appreciations on different policy-making styles.

Keywords: European Commission, European communication, European institutions, professional and social background, public policies

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Euros(c)eptic – The Theory of the Optimum Currency Area and the Practice of the Euro

Annamária Artner, Péter Róna

The article examines whether the euro crisis can be entirely attributed to factors such as regulatory failure or fiscal indiscipline, as opposed to the mechanisms built into the euro itself. It concludes that the euro contains a built-in bias that would result in the divergence of the path taken by the developed members on the one hand and the less developed ones on the other. The original the optimum currency area („OCA”) theory appears to have been valid, and the departure from it, as embodied in the Maastricht Treaty, amounted to an unjustified departure in light of the experience of the five weak countries of the eurozone (PIIGS). These experiences have proved that after the introduction of the common currency overcoming significant differences in initial conditions seems quite difficult. Only the countries having international companies with very strong positions on the world markets could take advantages of the euro, and the disadvantages resulting from the deterioration in competitiveness were left to the weaker ones. This also implies that the advantages for the stronger countries to the extent actually experienced were enhanced by the competitiveness of the weaker ones.

Keywords: euro, optimum currency area, PIIGS

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