With Croatia joining the European family and at the time when many are uncertain of the common European future one may reflect upon globalization forces that were very influential in the past two decades. Namely, globalization was a driving force behind transition of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries; it was a driving force that transformed these states into open and lenient globally recognized policy actors. Nowadays, they are fully functioning democracies that influence policy making of the European Union. Economic and political dimensions of globalization have been particularly significant in these transformation processes of the CEE countries. Economies opened and underwent major transformations and reforms that guided them successfully from Soviet-style, calculated economies to neo-liberal nations.

CEE countries realized that globalization was a platform of new opportunities, as well as threats. Opportunities were new business structures and practices, while major threats represented mass brain drain, unemployment, and other structural changes.  Economist Stiglitz[1] pointed out that globalization is integration of countries and people that was triggered by significant reduction of communication costs, which in turn broke artificial barriers. In fact, unrestricted exchange of information and cheaper and affordable access to technology was driven by enormous technological progress. This has further increased possibilities for improved globalized communication and cooperation, and thus enabling trade and economic development. In essence, even though some scholars and economic practitioners argue that globalization widens the gap between the poor and the rich, globalization has in fact been one of the main factors for development in general.

With the increased globalization movements these states had to forgo their norms in order to adapt to internationally accepted regulations and foremost to the common regulations and codes of the EU. Increased brain drain was a major problem; with open borders many highly qualified experts have decided to flee from the CEE countries, since they have been offered better paid jobs elsewhere. Thus, globalization was at first perceived negatively in many CEE countries.  However, in recent years Poland, for example, has been experiencing return of ‘drained brains’ who hope to invest their newly acquired capital closer to home.

Most recently CEE countries together with the ‘old’ Western European countries experienced a shift towards a rise of the common European governance.  A new or an old-and-modified political order of the European community remains to be seen; however, it is fairly predictive that states will be rapidly moving away from the political realities that have been known in the past.


[1] Stiglitz, Joseph E. Globalization and its discontents. London [u.a.]: Penguin Books,