No. 24, András Köves, Gábor Oblath (1994): The regional role of the former Soviet Union and the CMEA: a net assesment

This paper reviews some aspects of the break-up of the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) and its aftermath. It focuses on relations between the small Central and East European (or briefly, East European) countries on the one hand, and their dominating partner in the organisation, the Soviet Union (and its successor states), on the other. This choice is explained by the well-known fact that the CMEA was a “radial” integration: the important economic relations among member countries were chiefly those that linked individual economies to the Soviet Union. Discussion of the relations among the smaller former member countries of the CMEA, and their recent endeavours to establish a regional free trade arrangement, is beyond the scope of this study. Our review assumes that the reader is familiar with the main characteristics of the CMEA; no attempt is made to describe the institutions and the workings of the system. The first section below offers an introduction to some of the major post-CMEA issues and addresses the expectations on the Soviet side. Next, expectations on the East European side are reviewed and the effects of the demise of the CMEA are treated. The last section discusses questions pertaining the future of the relations between Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Project leader:
András Köves
Gábor Oblath