The convergence process in Europe has bifurcated. The new member states from Central Europe are catching up in terms of income per capita, with the initially poorer countries growing generally at a faster pace. Within the euro area, however, the North has diverged from the South since the start of the financial crisis. This pattern, reflecting East-West convergence but North-South divergence within the euro area, can be observed for a number of indicators, such as real wages, investment and consumption.
Convergence in wages is an important means for reducing brain drain, which was and still is quite pronounced in some new member states. We are now discovering, however, that brain drain might have more than simply economic costs. The feeling of being ‘left behind’ might be one important reason why fundamental elements of open societies and democracies, but also the EU’s fundamental values, are being called into question in several of the new member states.
We are hopeful that this event will shed light on these important questions and provide guidance on how to balance convergence, democratic values and the process of European integration. The event is intended to result in actionable policy conclusion to be circulated shortly after the event.
Among confirmed speakers are:
Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission
Sergiu Manea, CEO, BCR
Rastislav Kacer, Honorary Chairman, GLOBSEC
Danuta Hübner, MEP
Cinzia Alcidi, Head of Economic Policy Unit, CEPS
Martina Dlabajova, MEP
Mihnea Motoc, Deputy Head of EPSC
Ales Chmelar, Czech State Secretary
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