Chapter 5 The failure of catching up and the credibility crisis in ECE
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The global crisis has resulted in the complete failure of the ‘convergence dream’ for ECE in the EU. Although some quantitative catching up has taken place in GDP terms, there has been no qualitative catching up to the core in terms of the new, innovation-driven economy and global competitiveness. There has been no transition from the GDP-based ‘welfare’ approach to the ‘well-being’ universe of the West either. Owing to the loss of economic, social and legal-political security and the exclusion of ECE populations from the results of economic growth, people have lost trust in the political elite and political institutions. In this process of ‘desecuritization’, unhappy, low-trust societies have emerged in ECE, with substantial problems of disinvestment in human and social capital. Societal frustration has exploded into the deep credibility crisis of the Europeanization and democratization scenario.

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