Podcast: Roundtable Osteuropa 16/2020

Market integration and room for development in Europe’s peripheries: Constraint or opportunity?


One of the key claims used to legitimate market integration was that the freer movement of goods, capital, services and labour will automatically produce benefits for all participating countries without much supranational intervention. This position is increasingly being challenged in Europe. Strong political forces in both the Southern and Eastern peripheries claim the European project has stifled, rather than improved their ability to grow as indicated by persisting economic disparities within the EU. Even in the scholarly literature, the dominating view is that market integration distributes gains and losses among participating countries unevenly and it has the uniform effect of decreasing the room for development in peripheral economies. And while we see EU attempts to level the playing field by way of transfers and transnational industrial policies, their role is limited. The dominating EU strategy for managing developmental diversity still relies on the disciplinary power of markets and supranational hierarchies, an approach that is looking ever less convincing. Is there another way for the supranational strategies to help promote development in the peripheries?

In this podcast, Dr. Julia Langbein (ZOiS), Prof. László Bruszt (Central European University) and Dr. Vera Šćepanović (Leiden University) argue that the European Union can use, and has used in the past, a surprisingly big variety of strategies to manage the developmental consequences of market integration in its peripheries. Across the Southern and Eastern EU member states, as well as in the states outside the EU, these strategies have shaped both the room for development and the capacity of domestic states to use this room. As the effect of these strategies has ranged from political and economic decay to industrial upgrading and revival, the deeper exploration of these strategies has relevance also for integration attempts in other parts of the world. The presented insights got recently published in a Special Issue for the Review of International Political Economy.


  • László Bruszt (Central European University)
  • Vera Šćepanović (Leiden University)
  • Chair: Julia Langbein (ZOiS)

Roundtable Osteuropa

Roundtable Osteuropa is a podcast by the Centre for East European and International Studies. Scholars of ZOiS and their guests discuss their research of Eastern Europe. We consider events in politics and society, while also trying to shed light on lesser-known issues – with insights from sociology, political science, geography, social anthropology, literary studies and theology.