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2010 | 239 The Mechanism of Functioning of EMU Euro Zone Enlargement - the New Members' Perspective | 15--26
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Neutral Inflation and the Costs of Joining and Staying in the Eurozone

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Joining the Eurozone is a challenge for the countries which are less developed in relation to the economic leaders of the continent. On the one hand, this challenge is connected with the necessity to satisfy the rigorous Maastricht criteria (narrowing down the possibilities of using the economic policy tools in order to maintain an economic boom) on the other hand with a highly uncertain impact of adopting the Euro on the long-term economic growth. The key to participation in the project is keeping the inflation rates at a low level, which the economic policy has been subordinated to, subject to strict restrictions. Economic growth receded to the background in full conviction that market mechanisms will be able to fully satisfy European aspirations in this respect. The hopes, although deeply rooted in the neo-classical approach to the processes of growth, turned out to be rather deceptive. In the 1990s the "European growth model" - actually characterised by a fairly strong stability but a low growth rate, much lower than that noted in competitive centres of the world economy -became the fact. One of the key elements in increasing the growth dynamics in the Eurozone countries could be limiting the costs of joining and staying in the Eurozone by the countries displaying the ability to develop faster in the situation of inflation exceeding the ECB arbitrarily established inflation target. In such a case the ECB monetary policy should provide individual member countries with more flexibility in the field of price formation and especially a possibility of maintaining inflation rates at the level at which a country's economy achieves the highest economic growth rates in the long run while maintaining external equilibrium. This level is described by the term of neutral inflation or Non-Decelerating Economic Growth Rate of Inflation (NDEGRI). (original abstract)
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