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FDI in the New European Neighbours of Southern Europe: a quest of institutions-based attractiveness

Fabry, Nathalie and Zeghni, Sylvain (2006): FDI in the New European Neighbours of Southern Europe: a quest of institutions-based attractiveness.

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Why the “New European Neighbours” at the South East of Europe, after more than 10 years of transition and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), are not sufficiently attractive for inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)? The experience of Central and Eastern European Countries has shown that the access to the EU membership can be positively pushed by the European Neighborhood Policy and inward-FDI. On the one hand, ENP can be a supportive framework for improving the investor’s confidence. ENP Instruments can add more coherence in technical assistance; provide more financial support for creating capacities for trade, improve infrastructures, and contribute to the institutional and private sector development. On the other hand, inward-FDI may help to achieve modernization, industrial upgrading and improve productivity by importing foreign technologies, diffusing knowledge and western best practices. Southern European Transition Countries lack of a strong convergence process to the EU Standard probably because of an unclear accession date to the EU and of the Balkan Civil War. The aim of this paper is to understand the role of institutions in shaping a strong localization advantage for FDI. The quest of reliable and safe institutions has recently emerged in the economic literature, first as a catalyst for growth and more recently as an inward-FDI attractor mainly in transition economies. Contrary to the New Institutional School, we argue that institutions are not pre-condition to FDI but the result of an interaction between host countries and foreign investors. Such an institutions-based attractiveness could help the Southern European Transition Countries to become a new frontier for FDI in the future.

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