Post-communist countries emerged from the Soviet hegemony with fairly heterogeneous economic and political backgrounds. Disregarding the former Soviet republics with their inner differences – due mainly to their status in the Soviet Union as well as development prior to the sovietisation – two groups of states may be recognised in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): the so-called northern and southern tiers.
Countries from the northern tier had not only a clearly better prospect of accession to the European Union but also coped better with the transition from centralised economies and one-party regimes. This led to a broad assumption of the positive effect of the European Union on the transition process. Some neglected inconsistencies between the visible correlation and actual causality must however be drawn. Continue reading