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Analysts tend to view post-1989 East-West European integration through the unilateral lens of European Union (EU) enlargement or, rather more broadly, as a structural problem of integrating developed with developing countries. This article will assimilate these earlier approaches, but also move beyond them, by emphasizing the view from the peripheral area of Central and Eastern Europe. Significant developments taking place there have the potential to alter our way of thinking about the process of regional economic integration, in Europe if not elsewhere. The recent trends demonstrate a coalescence at the margins, a subregional solidification, which in tum suggests the advent of a counterweight to the powerful regional integration initiatives such as the EU. This coalescence has caused the EU's hitherto top-down, vertical integration strategy vis-a-vis the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to tilt ever so slightly, towards the horizontal. The effect ofthis power shift is to introduce a new dynamic into the process of East-West integration, and to take one step away from monologue, and towards conversation among neighbors.

Part II of this article presents the vertical integration model deployed by the European Union vis-a-vis the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Part III critiques the EU's approach by analyzing five paradoxes present in the current model: the trade paradox, the aspirational paradox, the participation paradox, the sovereignty paradox, and the competition-cooperation paradox. Part IV examines key integration· developments in Central and Eastern Europe, places them in the context of the EU enlargement process, and considers the extent to which they remedy the pathologies inherent in the vertical model. And finaliy, Part V concludes by questioning the broader implications of these European developments.


Posted with permission from the Wisconsin International Law Journal.

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