Online ISSN 2286-0266
Print ISSN 1223-0685
Copyright © 2020
Œconomica by SOREC
 
Dumitru MIRON
Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti
Ana-Maria HOLOBIUC
Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti
The regional integration process that started and sharply advanced in Europe since 1950 has challenged the contemporary scientific thinking and the national and European level decision-making process. Although initially the countries that founded the European Economic Community had similar political, social and economic conditions, the subsequent stages of accession questioned the desiderate of convergence. The main purpose of this paper is to study the process of real convergence within the European Union between 2000 and 2018 and to do a comparative analysis between the economic performances of the Central and Eastern European countries that joined the European Union with those recorded by the candidate countries. In this respect, we have used β- and σ-convergence tests and included in our research four main clusters: European Union (28), New Member States, Old Member States and the Candidate countries. We found evidences in favour of the β-convergence hypothesis, as the countries with modest economic performances, namely the New Member States and Candidate Countries, recorded higher GDP growth rates than the Old Member States. Moreover, we noticed a significant improvement for the New Member States and Candidate Countries in terms of citizens’ welfare, which is reflected in the values of the Actual Individual Consumption indicator. From another point of view, the σ-convergence test confirms a reduction of disparities within the New Member States group, mainly between the Euro countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Overall, our paper suggests that the countries from Central and Eastern Europe are making important steps in terms of improving their economic determinants, while the Old Member States are falling behind.

ŒCONOMICA no. 1-2/2020
Keywords: European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, real convergence, β-convergence, σ-convergence
JEL: O40, O52, O57
Looking for Real Convergence in an Enlarged European Union