EU integration strategies and room for development in Europe’s peripheries

Coordination: Dr. Julia Langbein in cooperation with Prof. László Bruszt (Central European University)

According to the dominant perspective in the literature, transnational market integration has the uniform effect of reducing the room for development in peripheral economies. Challenging this perspective, this research examines the integration strategies used by the EU in its three peripheries: the Southern member states, the Eastern member states, and the neighbouring states outside the EU. 

How do these strategies shape the capacities of states in these three peripheries to successfully integrate their economies into the regional market and upgrade their industries in European value chains? What other factors are responsible for variation in developmental state capacities? Why does the EU apply different integration strategies towards its peripheries in the first place, and why do these strategies sometimes change over time?

This research project aims to develop an analytical framework to compare various economic integration strategies and their capacity to help states in peripheral economies to play by, and benefit from, the shared rules of an integrated market. It also seeks to explore the domestic political factors that hinder or help the creation of developmental institutions in peripheral economies. By exploring the effects of various EU strategies on developmental state capacities, the project will produce important lessons for other parts of the world on how to expand integration regimes among countries at different levels of development.