This week Slovakia’s president, Ivan Gašparovič, hosted 19 of his counterparts from the region for the 18th Summit of Central European Heads of State in Bratislava. The theme of the conference was “Growth Strategy for Post-Crisis Recovery.” Pushing the idea that “Central European countries, particularly Czech Republic and Slovakia, are considered to have visionary fiscal reforms in the region,” the conference focused on ways these states could contribute to economic recovery and growth in the wider European community.
Whether or not the claim is accurate that the states involved in this summit should serve as “role models” for the rest of Europe, the economic potential of Central Europe is very much on the minds of EU members these days. Croatia will join the EU next month; Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are also on the list for eventual membership. Whether these countries will be assets to the EU’s economy depends in large part on their ability to attract and retain foreign investment (which, in turn, is affected by their relationship with the EU).