Winners and losers in the process of European integration. A look at Romania

Integration in the European Union is one of the twin strategic choices of Romania. As a

matter of fact, this integration is seen as a multiple venue for the Romanian society in its

quest for economic transformation and modernization. Why the latter is mentioned? For

economic and social backwardness is a feature of Romania (and of other Eastern

European societies) which goes back deeply into history, well before the advent of

communism. Will Romania succeed now, in combining post-communist transformation

and modernization via its quest for EU integration? This can and should be an obsessive

question to all of us. Prima facie, the answer cannot be but positive for the EU is a club

of rich and democratic countries. Admission into the EU would seal the accomplishments

of a journey of thorough economic and social change. But there is a major distinction to

make in this respect, namely between the end stage (accession), and integration viewed

as a gradual process of change of the anatomy and physiology of Romanian society –

which should make it compatible with EU economic and institutional structures. If the

emphasis is put on process the issue becomes much more complicated since the candidate

countries for EU accession are very diverse and Romania is one of the poorest performers

economically. It does make sense, therefore, to assume that, in her case, the process will

last longer.

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