BPO in Central and Eastern Europe
This article is aimed at visitors willing to better know and understand the business environment of Central and Eastern European Countries and the specificities that managers in these countries must take into account.
The end of the Cold War as well as the Fall of the Berlin Wall have opened up a vast economic region marked by rapid enterprise creation and by fledging free markets. This has triggered a profound transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to accelerate the process of democratization and economic modernization, and in recognition of their “European” identity, the newly independent countries of the region applied to join the European Union (EU). The EU began as an organization (the European Community) of six member states; then it became a Community of 9, 12, 15 and today it consists of twenty eigth member states. The EU therefore has considerable experience of enlargement. Yet the last enlargement process was unprecedented in a number of respects. First, more countries joined at one time in the history of the EU. Ten Central and Eastern European countries (and two Mediterranean countries) are the newest members. Bulgaria, Romania and possibly Croatia hope to receive full EU membership status by the year 2007. Turkey is also a candidate for membership currently negotiating its status with the EU. A number of republics of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia, etc.) and the former Soviet Union (Ukraine) would like to apply for membership.
The most recent EU members, apart from the Mediterranean ones, are former communist countries. Their level of economic development is much less than that of the existing member states. As a result, the current integration poses a major administrative, economic, and political challenge not only for the new members, but also for the original 15 members. This article will examine the challenges of integration for the original member states, the new member states, the prospective ones, and the consequences for businesses.