The future of Central Europe region and its role in a wider EU context was discussed at the Euromoney conference in Vienna on 20 January. More than 120 participants in the audience followed panel discussion chaired by Rainer Muenz, Head of Research and Knowledge Centre at the ERSTE Group Bank, with Milan Ježovica (former Deputy Foreign Minister of Slovakia), Jan Muehlfeit (former Chairman Europe of Microsoft) and Radovan Jelasity (CEO of Erste Bank Hungary). Improving cross-border infrastructure, innovation & education, and the quality of institutions were identified as the main challenges ahead. Our Central Europe fit for the future report was also featured.
Having strongly contributed to the overall EU economic growth in the past decade, CE now finds itself at the cross-road facing multiple dilemmas for both business and governments. At the same time, CE countries should get better in working together in Brussels and building up their EU profile as a region. CE answers to main equations (reform or retire, develop or decline, and connect or fragment) will determine whether the region as such as well as individual countries will be able to restart their convergence story with the EU core or diverge from it even further.